Marks & Spencer looks set to slash redundancy benefits for its 60,000 staff by up to 25% within the next two weeks.
The high street retailer is proposing to reduce the maximum payout that employees can receive from 70 weeks to 52 weeks, according to a leaked memo.
Anyone aged over 41 would receive only three weeks' pay for each year they had worked at M&S if made redundant, compared with 3.75 weeks' pay currently.
Staff under the age of 40 would receive two weeks for every year, down from 2.5 weeks.
An average employee with 30 years' service would see their potential payoff fall by £9,000 to £26,000.
A M&S spokesperson told Personnel Today that the move was being done to update company policy, and was not a money-saving measure.
"We're still in consultation, so nothing is official, but regardless of the outcome we will still be offering something more generous than competitors, and at least twice the statutory requirement," the spokesperson said, adding that job cuts could not be ruled out.
Currently, 3,500 M&S employee representatives who consult with management on policy changes are gathering feedback on the proposed changes. The final outcome will be implemented on 1 September 2008.
The last review was conducted in 2006 to be compliant with age discrimination legislation.