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HR Case File: Can I Ask an Employee to Retire?

What happens when you have an employee in their 70s who’s having trouble keeping pace with their colleagues and struggling to adapt to new systems? Is it appropriate to ask them if they are considering retirement? No one said dealing with HR issues would be easy…

Thankfully, FPM’s HR expert Lisa Wainwright is here to help. The latest in our series of handy case studies explains what actions to take in just such a situation.

 

 

This is a difficult question since the default retirement age was abolished in 2011. Previously when a member of staff approached retirement age, you could ask the question. Today this is not a recommended course of action, as you would leave the practice open to claims of age discrimination.

A safer way of tackling this query would be to approach the conversation as more of a welfare meeting. Have a chat with everyone affected by the recent changes to make sure you’re not singling out the individual you’re concerned about.

During the conversation, you could discuss the following topics:

 

  • Talk about the changes the practice has seen recently
  • Ask how they’re finding the recent changes, in terms of dealing with the new systems etc.
  • You can explain any issues you’ve noticed with their work and ask if there’s anything you can do to help (for example, provide more training on the new system)
  • Make it clear you’re speaking to everyone affected to review how things are going
  • Do they have any underlying health conditions? If so, you would need to consider making reasonable adjustments, just as you would for any other member of staff.

 

Make sure that you make notes during the conversations.

You need to avoid giving the employee the indication that you want them to retire, but ultimately, if things don’t improve then you would need to go down the capability route as you would with any other member of staff.

Are you dealing with a tricky HR issue? First Practice Management members can contact Lisa for support with their queries via our email helpline at hrhelp@firstpracticemanagement.co.uk


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