With pension schemes failing the nations aging generation they can take some comfort from the knowledge that they may soon be able to keep on working and have their rights protected beyond the age of 65. But it means more legislation for employers to come to grips with before October 2006.
New legislation coming into force in 2006 will outlaw age discrimination in the workplace. Workers over the age of 65 will be entitled to the same rights regarding unfair dismissal and redundancy as younger workers.
The draft regulations represent the final stage of implementing the European Employment Directive, and if approved will come into force on 1 October 2006.
The legislation means that:
- Age discrimination in relation to recruitment, promotion and training will be outlawed;
- Retirement ages of below 65 will be banned, except where objectively justified;
- The upper age limit for unfair dismissal and redundancy rights will be removed;
- Employers must consider an employee's request to continue working beyond retirement;
- Employers must give written notification to employees at least six months ahead of their intended retirement date.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has expressed concern that the regulations are complex and far reaching, and that small firms in particular could have difficulty implementing them within the necessary timeframe.
David Frost, BCC director general, said, 'It is unreasonable to expect an employer of a small business without dedicated HR staff to get to grips with all these changes. The Government must recognise this problem and do everything possible to help SMEs comply and understand the new measures'.
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