The Government would be wise to speed up the introduction of age discrimination legislation to put an end to the uncertainty
The Government would be wise to speed up the introduction of age discrimination legislation to remove uncertainty and reduce the ever-growing number of tribunals.
It comes as no surprise that the recent employment tribunal ruling allowing employees over the age of 65 to bring claims for unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy is to be appealed.
The Government clearly believes that, despite what the Labour Force Statistics suggest, the upper age limit for employment claims is not discriminatory.
However, some may have been surprised to read these words from a Government spokesperson: "Some issues are already clear. We must erode the present cliff edge at the end of working life - where on Friday someone is a valued member of the workforce, but by Monday they are shunted into retirement. This will mean extending choice and removing financial penalties that stand in people's way. And it will mean legislating to end age discrimination at work."
These were the words of the Work and Pensions Secretary Andrew Smith at the Labour Party Conference - but the subject matter was not compulsory retirement age, rather separate legislation concerning pension reforms.
Inland Revenue regulations are to be reformed, opening up the possibility of easier retention when an employee has reached retirement age. Easier, that is, for the employer to persuade staff to stay on.
The current Inland Revenue regulations prevent employees from taking a pension and salary from the same employer unless a completely different job is taken.
As a result, employees find they are unable to wind down to part-time work and stay with the same company purely because of financial difficulties. The changes to the pension restrictions will remove these financial barriers. This will clearly benefit employers who wish to retain older workers who have key roles in the company, and might otherwise be lost to competitors.
This might be misinterpreted as the Government's first step in introducing legislation giving older workers more rights. However, whether the employee is invited to stay on a