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Work Till You Drop

Posted on 23 July 2020 by Jonathan Rich

Work Till You Drop

2020 has been quite a memorable year so far. Personal injury lawyers will remember it partly for the publication of the 8th Edition of the Government Actuary’s Department Tables for use in personal injury and fatal accident cases. These are commonly known as the Ogden Tables, named after Michael Ogden QC who chaired the working party that led to the publication of the 1st Edition in 1984.

The tables themselves are probably of interest only to personal injury lawyers. Pages of densely packed numbers containing multipliers that are used in calculations about future losses, most commonly earnings that will be lost in the future as a result of an accident. For example, if a 50 year old woman suffers an accident that means she is not able to work at all, until her anticipated retirement age of 65, the tables show how to calculate her future lost earnings. It is not as simple as multiplying her annual earnings by 15, as that does not take account of the risk of mortality between ages 50 and 65 and other varying factors.

For me, the most interesting aspect of the tables is what they show about our changing society and changing expectations about work. The state pension age for both men and women has been creeping up over recent years and since 2011, employers have not been able to force people to retire once they reach pension age.

The 1st Edition of the Ogden Tables, published in 1984 were from a simpler world. They show retirement age for men at 65 and women at 60. There is no variation on these ages, no early retirement or working past pension age.

The 8th Edition have tables for anticipated retirement ages over a wide range. Some people will be lucky enough to retire early at age 50. Others will have the financial pressure or dedication to continue working to age 80. How many of us still want to be working at age 80?

Imagine someone who started their working life in 1983, before the 1st Edition was published. They would have anticipated retirement age of 65 for men or 60 for women. That certainty has now gone. They may still be working and may be looking at people entering their profession now who are going to have to work to age 80.

It is likely a further Edition of the Ogden Tables will be published in a few years. Will they envisage people working beyond 80?

Posted in: Personal Injury Claims