Queen's Speech

Like the Queen, many in the UK stay in their roles beyond the state pension age.

Elizabeth II has last week become the longest reigning British monarch taking the ‘crown’ from her great, great grandmother, Queen Victoria.

Despite the historic occasion it was business as usual for the Queen on Wednesday as she visited Tweedbank in Scotland to formally open the £294m Scottish Borders Railway. At the age of 89, the Queen has clocked in 63 years and seven months or 23,226 days during her reign as the Queen, overseeing 11 Prime Ministers. She has visited 116 countries on official trips, covering 43,618 miles in her coronation tour alone. She has continued to carry out her official duties long past the state pension age of 65, when many in the UK have retired from work.

Latest figures from the Labour Force Survey show that 1.1 million of over 65s are currently in some form of work, accounting for just under four percent of the total British workforce.

“In the UK we are fortunate to be able to work past the state pension age if we decide to. Just like The Queen, many of us are choosing to remain in our roles past the state pension age.” says Peter Mooney, head of consultancy at business services supplier ELAS.

“Even at the turn of the 21st century there was less than half a million over 65s working in the UK. It is empowering to witness that this number has increased so significantly since the retirement age was abolished some five years ago.”

Age UK campaigned for the abolition of the default retirement age, which was announced in July 2010, and took effect from April 2011. Since then, the people working over the previous default retirement ages has increased by over a quarter (27 percent).

April 2011: 65+ workers: 894,628 (Labour Force Survey)

August 2015: 65+ workers: 1,140,240 (Labour Force Survey)

Those working in the UK can now choose their own retirement age past what the state advocates, which is currently 60 for women (which is set to rise to 63 in 2016). Some employers can enforce a compulsory retirement age, particularly those in more physical environments, such as the fire services and front line duty services.

Those that campaigned for the abolition of default retirement age hope that employers in the UK will realise the benefits and skills older workers can bring.

Peter says: “Employers should embrace the increase of over 65s choosing to continue work but also ensure that they respect and support employees in the appropriate manner. Age is a protective characteristic and as such discriminating against it can result in uncapped claims, which no business wants to be faced with.”