Why minister says ageism law will be good for firms

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Minister for Pensions Ian McCartney urges the HR profession to consult withthe Government to help develop effective laws to tackle age discrimination inthe workplace. He talked exclusively to Ben Willmott about the key issuesQ Does more need to be done to encourage employers to be ready for the2006 deadline for the abolition of compulsory retirement? A “We will be implementing legislation based on the EUEmployment Directive to tackle age discrimination in employment, and this willbe in place by 2006. “Retirement is covered by the directive. However, it is not the casethat this directive requires the total abolition of retirement ages. Retirementis a key area on which we need to gain views from employers and employeesduring our consultation process. “We will be consulting with employers, individuals and interestedorganisations to identify best practice on the issue of retirement age, seekingto balance what is best for both employers and employees. “As this is an extremely complex area for legislation, we are planningto hold two consultations. The first, at the end of this year, will aim toraise awareness and discuss options and issues openly and in detail. “The second consultation is likely to begin in the second half of 2002,drawing on the result of the first exercise and incorporat-ing the government’sinitial proposals for introducing legislation to prevent agediscrimination.” Q What should HR departments do to prepare for the legislation? A “They should be seeking to get actively engaged in theconsultation process and consider if their current practices are fair.Information on the consultation process and guidance on good practice will beavailable on the new Age Positive website, which is due to be launched in thenear future. (The website address will be: www.agepositive.gov.uk) “The consultation is being co-ordinated by the Department of Trade andIndustry and a consultation document is due to be launched in December.” Q Which occupations should be exempt from the retirement ruling? A “We will be asking a specific question in the consultation onwhether an earlier age of retirement should apply to some sectors and on whatgrounds.” Q How important will older workers become in helping to overcome skillsshortages? A “Older workers are a very important and often forgottenresource. In the near future, there will be 2 million fewer working-age peopleunder 50. “More than 36 per cent of the labour force is aged over 45. In anothernine years, almost 40 per cent will be in that age group. “By comparison, by 2010, 16- to 24-year-olds will make up only 17 percent of the workforce. “A third of people aged from 50 to state pension age are inactive ordisplaced from the labour market. This is alarmingly high. “However, we are turning the tide. From 1997 to 2000, the employmentrate for the over-50s rose faster than for all of working age groups to reach67 per cent. “We are making progress, and employers are increasingly realising thebenefits older people bring. The message is clear – employers and the countrycannot afford to waste the skills and experience of our older workers.” Q Should employers contribute to stakeholder pension schemes – would thishelp the low take-up of the schemes by staff? A “Surveys have shown that if an employer is willing tocontribute to a stakeholder pension then that increases the number of employeeswho would take one out. “The Government has no plans to make it compulsory for employers tocontribute to employees’ stakeholder pensions. “It is, however, hard to predict what might happen in the future.”The ageism agendaDecember 2001Consultation to raise awareness on ageism and retirementAutumn 2002Government proposals for introducing age discrimination lawJanuary 2006EC directive to abolish compulsory retirement and ageism Related posts:No related photos. Why minister says ageism law will be good for firmsOn 6 Nov 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more