Asda scraps date of birth on application forms

Asda has announced that it will no longer ask people applying for a job at any of its UK stores to give their date of birth on their application form.

The move by the supermarket goes beyond the new age discrimination laws, which will come into effect on 1 October. 

While the new regulations seek to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of age, they do not go so far as to prevent employers asking candidates how old they are when applying for a job, neither do they scrap the mandatory retirement age. 

This still leaves people over 65 without the right to choose whether they carry on working. The firm said the regulations should go further, to make it illegal for employers to turn people down for a job on the grounds of their age or to force workers to retire at 65, the state pension age.

David Smith, people director at Asda, said: “We simply don’t see the point in asking people for their age when it’s completely irrelevant to our recruitment process. We take on the best personality for the job, regardless of when they were born. Our oldest recruit was over the age of 80 when they joined us and they’re living proof that age isn’t a barrier.”

Ailsa Ogilvie, director of Heyday, the membership organisation for people thinking about, approaching or in retirement, said: “Our research shows that as many as 58% of people in their 50s and 60s want to work on either full- or part-time, and that mature workers are good for business and good for the economy.” 

Asda is one of the UK’s biggest private sector employers of the over 50s, with more than 30,000 older workers. 

The company operates a number of flexible working packages to support older workers, such as grandparents’ leave and leave for workers who need time away from work to care for a sick or elderly family member or friend.


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