With an ever-aging population people are working for much longer than they have before, which is proving to be a new challenge for some employers. As a business, it is important to plan for your workforce and knowing if certain employees are planning on exiting the business by retiring is a significant part of that planning.

Factoring this into business strategy and planning is one thing, however can you raise this directly with employees that you think are ready for, and planning on retiring?

In simple terms, no. Raising this directly with an employee could lead to an age discrimination claim. Since 2011 there is no longer a legal set retirement age in most jobs, businesses can only set a retirement age if there is a legal justification for it.

“Though many younger workers may not realise it yet, there is more chance of them retiring when they turn 70 than 60”.  Thisismoney.co.uk

So, how can you find out if they are planning on retiring, without having to wait until they approach you?

Many businesses have regular review and appraisal processes for all their employees, part of this discussion should involve their plans within their current role and the company. These conversations should focus on short, medium and long term plans. Discussions like these with an older employee might allow them to feel comfortable to share their plans for retirement. As a reminder, these discussions should not involve any discriminatory remarks or conversations that could be construed as age discrimination. Once an employee has confirmed that they are planning to retire, then you can collaborate on a plan for their exit that suits the business and the employee.

It is also worth remembering that there are many reasons that someone might want to remain in the workforce; they might feel physically able to, they might need to for financial reasons and they may just enjoy the mental stimulation that comes with work. Just because you as a business think they should retire, does not mean they should or need to!

Essentially, retirement is not something that you should bring up with any employee, not only is there potential legal ramifications, but it can also sour the relationship between the employee and the company. Businesses that are taking planning and strategy seriously should also be engaged in regular conversations with their employees regarding their career and development with the company and this should naturally lead employees to discussing retirement intentions with them once they are comfortable to do so.

Need any advice or guidance? then get in touch HR Revolution are happy to help.