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BT: Default Retirement at Age 65

11 February 2010

BT has informed the CWU of their intention to consider applying the Default Retirement Age (DRA) procedure for all UK employees approaching the age of 65.

Since the introduction of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations in 2006 BT has not had a fixed retirement age, but reserved the right to apply the DRA procedure from 65 onwards.

The application of the DRA procedure has been the subject of legal challenge in Europe and the UK, known as the Heyday Challenge. The High Court has ruled that the Default Retirement Age of 65 is lawful. However, comments made concerning the judgement would indicate that it may be short lived. The government has brought forward a review of the DRA from 2011 to 2010.

On this basis the Union asked that BT reconsider its application of the DRA. The Company response is that their current resourcing profile means it has no option but to apply the DRA where it is considered appropriate. The Company has given assurances that each case will be trated on its merits in compliance with the legislation.

Under the DRA proceedure the Company must notify individuals of their Intended Date of Retirement (IDR) between 12 months and six months of that date. An employee wishing to challenge this decision must do so in writing at least three months before the IDR. The Company has a duty to consider any application to be retained. The member has the right to be accompanied at a meeting to discuss retention and any subsequent appeal.