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Retirement age

There is no legal retirement age, and employers can no longer force their employees to retire at a particular age. It’s up to you when you decide to stop working. 

Can my employer force me to retire?

Employers used to be able to force workers to retire at 65 (known as the Default Retirement Age), but this law was scrapped in April 2011, following a campaign by Age UK.

This means that you can keep working beyond 65 if you want or need to.

There are exceptions in some situations where an employer can force you to retire by law, but they must give a good reason why. You may be asked to retire early if your job:

  • requires you to have a certain level of mental or physical abilities, or
  • has an age limit set by another law

If you are forced to retire, your employer must follow a fair procedure and give you enough notice.

Employers still have the right to make redundancies and dismiss you if you’re underperforming, but these decisions should be based on objective criteria and not because of your age.

Do I need to tell my employer about my retirement plans?

Your employer may ask about your retirement because they’re interested in how long you plan to keep working for their business. However, you don’t have to talk to your employer about your retirement plans if you don’t wish to.

The decision to retire often comes after several months of research, discussion and planning. There’s no need to rush or feel pressured to make a decision. Think about how retirement will affect your future lifestyle, such as:

Do I still get a State Pension if I continue working?

The ‘State Pension age’ is the earliest age you can claim the State Pension.

As you approach State Pension age, you’ll be given a choice whether to claim or delay your State Pension payments. You can still claim your State Pension while you’re working but you may wish to defer it, which can have some financial benefits.

Your private or workplace pension scheme may have an earlier age where you can start receiving your pension (usually 55), even while you’re working. Schemes vary so ask your fund or employer about how your pension is affected if you change your work arrangements or continue working beyond State Pension age.

Do I still pay tax if I continue working?

If you work beyond State Pension age then you won’t need to pay National Insurance (NI). You may need to show your employer proof of your age so they stop NI deductions from your pay. 

You may need to pay income tax depending on your total income. Your total income includes your salary plus your private pension and State Pension. Some people delay their State Pension claim until they finish working to avoid paying more tax.  

Further information

Get more advice about National Insurance and tax after State Pension age

What should I do now?

Check your pension provision

Calculate how much pension you might get in retirement using the Age UK Pension calculator.

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All the information and advice we provide on the website is free and completely independent, as is our Advice Line that is open 365 days a year.

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Age NI Advice Service

Every year our Advice Service deals with thousands of calls from older people in need. Call us today to make sure that you are receiving all the help and support available to you.

Call freephone 0808 808 7575
Monday - Friday 9am – 5pm 


Last updated: May 25 2021

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