Until fairly recently, employers could force their employees to retire at the default retirement age. However this law was scrapped in April 2011 following a campaign by Age UK. This means that employers are no longer able to force you to stop working just because you have reached a certain age. However, there are exceptions to this rule and there are some situations where an employer is able to force retirement. They must be able to show there is a good reason, for example:
- There is an age limit set by another law.
- The job entails a certain level of mental or physical abilities.
Where an employer uses this route to force an employee to retire they must give the employee enough notice and use a fair procedure. If you find yourself in this position it can be overwhelming, especially if you had not intended to retired. But you can still continue working- you just need to think outside the box.
Best of both worlds?
Even if you have been forced to retire from your current company this does not mean the end of your working life. You may wish to continue working for financial reasons or because you wish to continue with your career and work. If you are interested in continuing working, a viable option is going freelance where you can work the hours that suit you at a time and a place that is convenient.
Depending on your circumstances you can continue to draw your state pension and private pension once you are at the relevant age, or you can defer taking them. If you do defer then you will be allowing your pension more time to grow giving you a bigger pot later on. If you start to draw on your pension while you are still working then the amounts drawn will incur tax above your annual personal allowance.
You will still be liable to pay income tax if you earn above your personal allowance, which is currently £11,850 (2018/19). However, once you reach state pension age you no longer pay National Insurance even if you are continuing to work.
Working as a freelance lawyer can give you the freedom to focus on the work that you are interested in with a varied client base working hours that suit. You can choose the work that you want to do at a place convenient to you with hours that suit. This can allow you to work from home and spend more time with family or even travel while still earning an income.
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