The government is coming under increasing pressure to exempt service-related benefits from forthcoming age discrimination legislation.
Employers’ groups have warned that the proposed laws, due to come into effect in October 2006, will mean that staff who spend years working for the same company could lose their entitlement to extra paid holidays.
While the anti-age discrimination rules will not make extra holiday rewards illegal, it is feared companies will stop offering them because of the threat of legal action from younger staff denied the same breaks.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, CBI and Chartered Management Institute (CMI) called for service-related benefits to be taken out of the age bias laws.
CBI director of HR policy Susan Anderson said: “We are hopeful that if we make enough fuss, we can get the rules changed before they come in.
“If they are not changed, we will definitely advise our members to change their reward policies – or they will be too open to legal action.”
Mike Petrook from the CMI said: “The question is: if you can’t reward people for long-term service, how else can you motivate them?”
A spokesman for the DTI said: “We recognise that service-related benefits are widely welcomed across industry. We are looking at ways to preserve these benefits.”