As of the 1st October 2006 it is illegal to discriminate against people on grounds of Age. The draft regulations (which do not affect the age at which people can claim their state pension):
- Ban Age Discrimination in terms of recruitment, promotion and training
- Ban forced retirement before the age of 65 - except where objectively justified
- Remove the current upper age limit for unfair dismissal and redundancy rights
They also introduce:
- A duty for employers to consider an employee's request to continue working beyond retirement
- A requirement for employers to give written notification to employees at least 6 months in advance of their intended retirement date. This will allow people to plan for their retirement.
In line with this the University has now introduced a new Retirement Policy which details the University's position and the process that will be followed when a member of staff is approaching retirement age.
People over 65 are to get the same rights to unfair dismissal and redundancy payments as younger workers under new measures to outlaw age discrimination in the workplace. The Equality Challenge Unit has published some answers to FAQs they receive regarding age discrimination and the law. If you are interested in viewing this document please click here.
The growing importance of older workers is a reality. Britain's age profile is changing. At present 35% of the UK workforce is aged 45 or over. Age Concern estimate that by 2010, 40% will be in this age group, while 16 to 24-year olds will make up only 17% of the workforce. This ageing workforce will have significant implications for employers. This is particularly relevant at the University.
Currently 52% of our employees are aged 45 years or over.
The University has signed up to the Age Concern Pledge which will help to Break the Age Barrier in the workplace. The pledge indicates our commitment to older employees and a recognition that:
- The value and contribution of older workers is commercially beneficial.
- In our experience there are substantial benefits to valuing older people at work, ahead of new legislation.
- The value of older people as customers can bring with it new markets and new business.
The University's widening participation work influences the age profile of our students. 22.8% of our students are under 21, while 77.2% are aged 21 or over. A mature students society is now in place for older students to come together socially to share common interests.