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Age equality

Resources and guidance for UCU equality officers and activists can be found in the age equality resource centre.

See also: UCU regional retired members' branches

UCU supports the current legal position of there being no default retirement age. Since October 2011 it has not been legal for employers to enforce retirement at a certain age, subject to justification for locally setting such an age related condition (see below). The default retirement age before October 2011 was 65. There were many complaints from UCU members who prior to October 2011 had retirement enforced before they wanted to leave employment.

UCU supports the TUC position that everyone should have the right to retire with dignity and a decent pension.

The change in legislation about retirement has engaged a cultural change in the way career lives can be considered. From a 'countdown culture' or lineal pattern to a more cyclical pattern where people may consider, for example, more flexible working patterns suitable at different points in the lives. UCU is committed to understanding the impact of flexible working as part of our work on  social sustainability at work which continues.  In 2010 we were part of a project with two other European countries and you can find the report here.

See the Equality Challenge Unit website for more information including some significant legal cases.

Occupational and state pensions still have an age entitlement, check your pension scheme for their age related terms and conditions.


There is provision for locally established retirement age if it can be justified. Grounds for justification are based on the functioning of the business in relation to the impact on individuals. The grounds for justification have been tested in various court cases which can be used to support cases. For up to date information on justification please refer to this age discrimination website. It is possible to find other age related cases navigating from this page.

For more information, please contact Seth Atkin: satkin@ucu.org.uk

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