With less than a fortnight to go until the new age discrimination regulations come into force, new research from Age Concern indicates that many people think the new laws don’t go far enough.
According to Age Concern’s research 85 per cent of people think age discrimination should be illegal.
The problem with the new regulations is that they only provide protection for under-65s in work and training, or who are looking for work. Employers can still set a mandatory retirement age of 65 – and the right to continue working beyond 65 is only a right of request.
Last week, the TUC overwhelmingly supported the abolition of all default retirement ages following a motion from the University and College Union.
Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said: “This is an ageist anti-ageism law. It is like disability discrimination legislation that penalises someone for being too disabled.
“Our new research shows the clear unpopularity of forced retirement and the low level of public awareness of the new age discrimination law.
“The Government should reinstate their original commitment: to give all people a chance to be recruited, trained and employed on their merits not on their birth date.
“Society and legislators have rightly outlawed sexism, racism and homophobia. Now is the time to outlaw all forms of ageism in the work place. It is wrong, it doesn’t make sense for either the employer or employees and it is bad for the UK’s society and economy. Mandatory retirement ages need to be abolished, and they need to be abolished now.”
The survey also revealed that attitudes to and knowledge of the new age discrimination rules are unaffected by how close someone is to 65 – people of all ages are equally critical of the mandatory retirement ages.
- Age Concern has backed the legal action by Heyday which is challenging the mandatory retirement ages. The decision on whether a judicial review will be allowed is expected shortly.