DTI reveals anti-ageism law plans

The Government has announced its intention to allow employers to keep
mandatory retirement ages if they can justify them as necessary for the
business.

It is also considering setting a default age of 70 after which employers
could ask employees to retire without having to justify their decision.

The proposals are set out in the consultation paper Equality and Diversity:
Age Matters, released earlier this month.

Employers would have to justify their retirement age requirements by
reference to "specific aims set out in legislation", and will have to
provide supporting evidence if challenged, for instance, at an employment
tribunal.

The consultation paper gives examples of the sort of specific aims that may
justify treating people differently on the grounds of age. They are:

– Health, welfare and safety

– Facilitation of employment planning (for example, where a business has a
number of people approaching retirement age at the same time)

– Particular training requirements of the post, for example air traffic
controllers who need good health, fitness and concentration

– Encouraging and rewarding loyalty

– The need for a reasonable period of employment before retirement.

Consultation closes on 20 October. The DTI intends to give employers two
years to prepare for the legislation, which needs to be in place by the end of
2006.

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