Pensions provisions of age discrimination laws laid before Parliament

Regulations amending the pensions aspects of the age discrimination laws have been laid before Parliament today.


The pension aspects of the original regulations were postponed for two months to give businesses, trustees and trade unions additional time to adjust and to allow for an informal consultation period.


As a result, the government has decided to make amendments to the original provisions, due to come into force on 1 December 2006.


The new regulations supply employers with a wide range of exemptions, which will allow them to continue with many accepted rules and practices.


As well as providing any necessary clarification, the government said the amendments address a variety of concerns that have been highlighted by stakeholders during the recent consultation.


European law requires the legislation to be implemented no later than 2 December. The government said it was investigating the feasibility of including a ‘compliance window’, to give time for schemes to adjust.


The CBI welcomed the amended regulations, but urged ministers to extend the deadline for their implementation past 1 December.


The previous draft regulations would have made a number of common pensions practices illegal, in particular preventing companies from allowing existing members to continue to accrue rights in sections of schemes not available to all employees.


The Cabinet Office’s better regulation guidelines state that companies should have a minimum of 12 weeks to comply with the regulations.


John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general, said: “We are relieved the government responded to our concerns about the previous set of regulations concerning pensions and age discrimination.


“But employers now face an impossible challenge to implement the new rules by the end of the month. It is vital that ministers deliver on their intention to give employers more time to comply with the regulations by extending the deadline beyond 1 December.”


The CBI welcomed the amended regulations, but urged ministers to extend the deadline for their implementation past 1 December.

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