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No More Retirement, Managing Sickness – October 2011

Default Retirement Age Abolished

From 1st October it is no longer legal to dismiss someone by reason of retirement, unless you have an ‘objective justification’ for doing so. So, no longer can you rely on a default retirement age of 65 when you know that your employees will retire. This is a hard one to get your head round.

How do you manage as an employer with an ageing workforce who may be beginning to show signs of underperformance or out-dated skills for your business? How do you create the opportunities for bringing new blood and ideas into your business if you can no longer rely on an arbitrary retirement date to help you with your succession planning?

Many employers are finding this prospect very difficult to understand, let alone manage. The short answer is that you will need to manage your older employees in the same way as you manage any employees whose capability to perform their roles diminishes for whatever reason. You will need to have capability procedures in place and good performance management processes, including appraisal and regular reviews of all staff, to enable you to deal with the inevitable changes that will come as employees grow older. And with the prospect of us all working to 70 and beyond, it’s an option you can’t really afford to ignore.

We have heard that there are employers out there who are contemplating golden pay-offs to older employees to encourage them to retire. But these can be dangerous if not supported by a comprehensive and legally endorsed compromise agreement – so take advice before embarking on this route.

For further information on the implications of the removal of the default retirement age, capability and performance procedures and formulating robust compromise agreements, please contact jenny@jsconsult.co.uk

Managing Sickness

The perennial problem of work-related stress. I am still talking to clients who are trying to manage long term sickness cases where employees are claiming stress and frightening their employers into thinking that their hands are tied and they are unable to act.

Firstly, there are things you can do, through using your capability procedures and ensuring that you can obtain independent medical reports through the use of Occupational Health advice to determine the true causes of absence. Secondly, you need to be wary of the Disability Discrimination Act for sure, but don’t forget the contract of employment is a two way deal and if an employee is unable to fulfil the agreed terms of the contract, even though you have made all reasonable adjustments to accommodate their needs, then you have the right to act.

Contact me to discuss your long term sick problems, and we can discuss a strategy to move the process forward and to avoid reaching an expensive stalemate. Contact us here.

Contact us if you would like to talk about any of the above, any other employment matter or to arrange a free HR healthcheck of your existing contracts of employment, policies and procedures.

Call 01462 433033 or email jenny@jsconsult.co.uk

We’re here to offer you practical solutions for your business whilst ensuring that you remain compliant with current legislation.