Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (262)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

262. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the interaction, if any, he has had with employer groups regarding the alignment of compulsory retirement age with the new State pension age. [11620/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

There is no statutory compulsory retirement age for employees in Ireland. A contract of employment may stipulate a compulsory retirement age and this is generally a matter of contract law between the relevant parties.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has made rulings in a series of age-discrimination cases concerning Directive 2000/78/EC, which prohibit work-related discrimination on various grounds, including age. The CJEU has clarified that mandatory retirement ages may be set down within the context of national law, whether by contract, custom and practice or other means, which must be objectively and reasonably justified by a legitimate social policy aim, with the means of achieving that aim being both appropriate and necessary. Directive 2000/78/EC is given effect in national law by the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2011, which come within the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Justice, Mr Alan Shatter, T.D.

As regards my Department’s interaction with employer groups on this issue, my Department participated in a Working and Retirement Forum in Croke Park on 12 December 2012, which was organised and chaired by the Department of Social Protection, which has lead responsibility for the State pension and pension age policy. Employers were among the stakeholder groups represented at the Forum, at which there was a discussion of issues relating to the alignment of mandatory retirement age practices with the new State pension age. My Department will continue to interact on this issue with the Department of Social Protection, in the context of its on-going outreach initiatives with relevant stakeholders.