Years ago, it was newspaper printers and dockers who had a job for life. But from October 2011, it will be everyone.

The government will abolish forced retirement at 65 and employees will have the right to continue working for as long as they are able. A test case said it was legal to give six months’ notice to employees to retire on, or after, their 65th birthday.

This will still apply up until next October, so until then, give the employee six months’ notice in writing of their retirement date and, in the letter, give them the right to request to continue working for you any time within three months of receiving your letter. If you receive such a request, then you must have a meeting with them.

My advice would be that, if you have got to the stage where you are giving them notice, don’t change your mind, because there will be no turning back in October. Then, the only reason to lose these employees will be redundancy (watch out for age discrimination) on the grounds of capability and it’s very hard to tell a sweet old lady who has worked diligently for you for 30 years that they are too slow or a disciplinary procedure.