27/04/2006

Businesses 'not prepared' for age discrimination laws

Many employers are not prepared to understand how new age discrimination legislation will affect them, conciliation service Acas has warned.

From October 1, employers will be banned from forcing staff to retire before the age of 65 and will also also have to provide workers with at least six months notice of their retirement date.

Employees would also be able to stay in their jobs past the age of 65 if their employer agrees.

Speaking at an age discrimination conference in London, Acas Chair Rita Donaghy said: "A lot of organisations are under the impression that the regulations will not affect them - this is simply not true. Age discrimination can affect employees of any age, not just the young and old.

"The legislation comes into effect in October and the frightening fact is that recent research shows around 80% of UK organisations are not training or informing their staff about it."

Acas has launched new guidance to help employers and individuals understand how the legislation will affect them.

The guidance covers the key issues, including training, equal opportunities, recruitment, promotion, performance appraisals, sickness pay, conditions, benefits, redundancy, pensions and retirement.

Ms Donaghy said: "This is an excellent opportunity for employers to go beyond compliance and increase their productivity. Acas' good-practice training and guidance will help bosses to recruit, develop and retain the very best available talent, regardless of age, and eliminate some very outdated prejudices."

(KMcA/CD)

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