The introduction of legislation to combat age discrimination in the workplace could lead to older workers losing redundancy rights.
The government will send out the proposals for consultation this week and, if adopted, redundancy payments to staff aged 41 and over will be reduced to one week's pay for each year of service completed after reaching 41. Under present UK law, such employees are entitled to a week-and-a-half for each year of service once they are 41.
The change would bring UK legislation in line with age discrimination clauses in the 2000 EU directive on employment.
The provisions will make payments equal to employees aged under 41 who are entitled to one week for every year served if they are made redundant.
Michelle Mitchell, head of public affairs at the charity Age Concern said the odds were already stacked against the older worker.
"Many over-50s find it impossible to get back into the workplace after losing their jobs and are unable to build up adequate pension contributions", she said.