Workers can no longer be forced to retire at the age of 65 or over after Friday, in a move hailed as a "major milestone" by age equality campaigners

October 5 marks the final day that employers can compel workers to retire under such rules, following the abolition of the Default Retirement Age (DRA) last year. Age UK said the end of the DRA marks a "major milestone in the fight against age discrimination". Michelle Mitchell, charity director general of Age UK, said: "We hope that now it is illegal to force someone out of their job simply because they are 65 or over, it will make employers look beyond their staff's date of birth, objectively assess their skills and contributions and trigger a more positive and realistic attitude to older people."

Before April 2011, employers had to give workers between six and 12 months notice of intention to force them to retire, with a further six months possible extension, if they were forcing them to retire under the rules. Ros Altmann, director-general of over-50s group Saga, which had campaigned for the law change, said: "We have already seen a huge increase in older workers. "The fact is that people are simply not 'old' or 'past it' any more in their 60s and, after all the tremendous advances in healthcare and labour practices, there is no reason why those who want to keep working should be forced out just on the grounds of their age. "Such ageist attitudes and discriminatory practices have no place in a modern labour market." She said it is a credit to the Government that one of its first actions when taking office was to announce an end to the DRA. Dr Altmann continued: "The move was long overdue and hopefully the workplace is now much more welcoming to older workers. This change does not mean anyone has to be forced to work longer. But it does mean that employers cannot force people to stop, if they are perfectly good at their jobs and willing and able to work."

 Source: Press Association