Age discrimination laws 'used to avoid long-term service benefits'

28-09-2006

Age discrimination laws 'used to avoid long-term service benefits'
Some "unscrupulous" employers have been using exemptions contained in new age discrimination laws to avoid paying long-service benefits to employees, it has been claimed.

The Age and Employment Network (TAEN) said that it had received a large volume of calls from older employees who face having their long-service benefits removed, due to exemptions in the Employment Equality Age Regulations coming into force next week.

While the regulations only give an automatic exemption for employee benefits based on up to five years of service, there is a measure of flexibility in how the service is measured, said TAEN spokesman, Keith Frost.

He continued: "However, it should not be very difficult for an employer who already gives additional benefits for long service beyond that to be able to maintain them. The regulations require a much lower 'test' for whether an employer is justified in offering them."

A survey from the Employers Forum on Age found that 61 per cent of working Britons said that they had come across ageist behaviour at work.

However, there is concern that many employers and staff members are confused by the new regulations, with 77 per cent of the population either not knowing or not understanding about the new default retirement ages, according to Age Concern.



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