Thursday, July 20, 2006

Age legislation a burden to charities

Gordon Lishman, Director General of Age Concern England speaking at yesterday's Age Concern Summer Event at the British Library where he highlighted the success of the Heyday project.

Charity employers perceive new anti-ageism legislation as a burden and are unconvinced of the business benefits of the new law less than six months before it comes into force.

New figures from the Age Partnership Group claim less than half of charity employers expect new legislation to improve staff retention. Just a fifth believe it will lead to better workers and less than a third expect it to increase choice in the labour market.

The majority of those questioned said age discrimination legislation would be challenging in recruitment (67%), selection (68%) and training (57%) of staff.

But the APG has warned that charities must act now to be prepared for the introduction of the legislation, which requires organisations to review their employment practices to ensure they are based on skills and competencies, and not age, from 1 October this year.

The Employers Forum on Age claims that lack of action could expose employers to £73bn worth of claims. The APG, funded by the Department of Work and Pensions, is now campaigning for employers to ‘Be Ready’ for the changes to age discrimination legislation when the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations come into force.

Meanwhile, membership organisation Heyday (backed by Age Concern) is taking the government to court over the new legislation. An application was lodged in the High Court on 3 July to seek a judicial review of the regulations.

Following a survey of 60,000 people of in their fifties and sixties, in which 80% said people should be able to continue to work over 65 if they wish, Heyday is calling for mandatory retirement ages to be scrapped. It says the regulations contravene a European Directive outlawing age discrimination, leaving people over 65 without the right to choose to work.

Source: Charity Times


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