The trouble with well-meaning anti-discrimination legislation is that it draws attention to vulnerable members of staff, and turns them into targets.
Anyone working for a company with more than a few employees (and probably even micro-businesses too) will have noticed that the older members of staff are being culled as the deadline approaches for implementing new anti-ageism laws, which are due in October.
These employees might have been allowed to continue working quietly – which is what many with limited pensions contributions need to do. But, because a law is being introduced to protect their rights, they will lose out. So say goodbye to the office job you’ve been doing for years, and count yourself lucky if you can get a few years working part-time on the paint counter at B&Q.
And who forms the majority of people with limited pension contributions? Why, women of course, because of the years they took out of work raising families, or working part-time while the children were young. So the age discrimination laws will also discriminate against a generation of women who don’t qualify for a full state pension.
In the long run, of course, many older people will benefit from the change in the law, but those caught in the transition will pay a high price. If petrol prices can be put up overnight by a pronouncement in a Budget speech, why can’t anti-discrimination laws be similarly instantly effective?