Employers must still get ready for age laws in 2006

Employers have been reminded of the need to comply with age discrimination legislation – due to come into force by October 2006 – despite Government plans to scrap the mandatory retirement age.

The abolition of the default retirement age is to be delayed until 2011, as revealed exclusively in last week’s Personnel Today. An official Government announcement is expected before Christmas.

But the Employers Forum on Age (EFA) warned that organisations still need to prepare for the 2006 deadline.

The age discrimination laws will be based on familiar concepts found in existing sex and race discrimination laws, and will cover direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Claims will be brought at an employment tribunal, and there will be no limit on the amount of compensation.

Sam Mercer, director of the EFA, told Personnel Today: “We don’t want employers thinking they have an extra five years to prepare for this legislation.”

However, she welcomed the prospect of scrapping the retirement age. “In the long run, a fixed mandatory retirement age is not the way to go. The EFA would welcome the decision [to end the mandatory retirement age] if that is to be the case.”


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