Fewer than one in four small- and medium-sized employers in the UK are aware of the forthcoming age discrimination legislation, research reveals today.
A study by the Employers’ Forum on Age and British Chambers of Commerce shows that while 63% of employers know that new laws are coming into force in October, less than one in four know that these include age discrimination regulations.
Just 35% of the 250 businesses surveyed know that the default retirement age would be 65, although 65% know that employees can request to work beyond the age of 65.
The research also shows that only 18% of small- and medium-sized employers feel that the government has provided adequate and timely guidance to help smaller employers digest the impact of new employment regulations on their businesses
Despite the government’s assertion that it had sent information packs about new employment regulations to every organisation in the UK, only 5% of firms surveyed have seen them.
Sam Mercer, director of the Employers’ Forum on Age, said: “Clearly these findings are of deep concern. Small businesses can’t afford to ignore these laws, people of all ages will be protected and this could lead to a huge increase in discrimination claims.
“We have worked with the British Chambers of Commerce to produce a factsheet to guide small businesses through their new legal responsibilities and give employers the exact information they need.”