Why Use Us? Key Issues Concerning the Ageing Workforce

 

The UK’s population demographics are going through a period of dramatic change. The Department of Work and Pensions has estimated that by 2024 nearly 50% of the population will be aged 50 or over. The country will simply not have enough young people to deliver economic growth. According to the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, older workers will be essential to meet the expected future “employment deficit” and to help organisations avoid risks to their competitive edge. Additionally, older employees want to compensate for the reduced income they face from the raising of the State pension age by demanding to work for longer. 

 

Coupled with these demographic changes, there have been significant changes in the law:

  • In 2006, the Government passed the “Employment Equality (Age) Regulations” Act which for the first time formally prohibited employers from unreasonably discriminating against their employees on grounds of age. This legislation is now part of the Equality Act 2010.
  • In July 2010, the government announced the ending of the Default Retirement Age. This means it is no longer possible for an employer to insist that an employee retires purely on the basis of their age.  
  • The State Pension Age is also changing. By 2026 the State Pension Age will be 67 years old and a further rise to 68 is also planned.

Surveys show that in recent years the proportion of people over 55 planning to work beyond state pension age has jumped from 40% to 71%. Already there are over 1 million people over 65 in the UK who are still in employment.

 

Employers who do not comply with the law are increasingly being taken to Employment Tribunals. In fact, the largest increase in cases dealt with by Employment Tribunals in 2010-11 was related to age discrimination. 

 

Ideally, employers should be using the changes in the law as an opportunity to re-evaluate how they can extend the beneficial contributions being made by their older workers.