Employers given two weeks to respond to proposed pensions amendments to age discrimination laws

A shake-up of the age discrimination regulations has kicked off with a consultation paper proposing changes to occupational pension rules.

It is less than three weeks after the age discrimination rules came into force and the Department for Work and Pensions has put out a short consultation document about parts of the regulations relating to pensions.

Employers and pension experts only have until Friday 20 October to respond to the proposed amendments, which include allowing trustees to provide different benefits based on length of service.

If the proposals get the go-ahead, targeted pensions, where employers aim to have all members leave on the same level of benefit at a certain point, would also be allowed.

Faith Dickson, partner of law firm Sacker & Partners LLP, said tht although the draft changes were welcome, the big policy issues, such as what benefits to offer people who continue working beyond normal retirement dates, remain.

She said: “Timing is also still a big issue, with schemes needing to comply by 1 December 2006.

“It would be helpful for employers to continue to let the Department for Work and Pensions know about the problems this is causing them.

“The last thing the government can want is for employers to rush at this, and level down employees’ pension benefits in a ‘quick fix’ to meet the legislative deadline.”

The Department for Work and Pensions is also amending the Department of Trade and Industry guidance about the impact of age discrimination legislation on pension schemes.


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