Public service retirement changes raise questions about private sector

"As public health continues to improve and people are living longer, we need to address this both financially and practically".

Public servants taken on after April 2004 either have a retirement age of 70 or have no compulsory retirement age.

"They will still have the ability to retire at the point that they now do".

Mr Donohoe said for anyone who joined after 2004 - they either do not have a maximum retirement age or the maximum retirement age is already 70.

When asked about any extensions, he said, "This has to be agreed between the employee and employer", stressing that "mutual consent" will be essential, but "in the vast majority of cases, it will be granted".

"We're not changing the minimum retirement age".

The later retirement date will not apply to certain frontline workers like Gardaí and fire personnel, who already have accelerated pensions with a right to retire early on full pensions because of the nature of their work. "They have the option to work longer".

Mr Donohoe said: "Many pensioners feel that they have earned their pension and should not have to "sign on" as a jobseeker in order to receive a portion of it".

"However, there are many thousands of older workers in the private sector who will not benefit from today's changes".

Head of Advocacy and Communications at Age Action has said it welcomes the Government's proposal.

He said legislation is now stuck in the Oireachtas that would abolish mandatory retirement clauses, including in the private sector.

Mr Donohoe highlighted what he described as difficulties being experienced by public servants who are obliged to retire at 65 but who are not eligible for the contributory State pension until their 66th birthday.

But private sector workers who are forced to retire at 65 - most of whom do not have occupational pensions - will still have to rely on social welfare until they can draw the State pension.

"The more people you have in employment, the more people are growing the economy, creating job opportunities".

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