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Equality and Diversity: Age Discrimination in Employment and Vocational Training

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 - SI No 2006/1031 - come into force on 1 October 2006.

The Regulations are available on the website of the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) (see external links) and the Notes on the Regulations are available on these pages (see Related Documents).

Pension provisions in the Employment Equality (Age) (Amendment No.2) Regulations 2006 - SI 2006/2931 - came into force on 1 December 2006.

These amending regulations mean that a wider range of existing pension scheme rules can continue.They  provide clarification of the existing schedule of exemptions and further specific exemptions to address concerns that were highlighted during DWP’s short informal consultation that was held during October.

These amending regulations are available on the website of the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) (see external links).

The Employment Equality (Age) (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2007 – SI 2007 No 825 – came into force on 6 April 2007.   

The amendments have the following effect:

a) Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 - Schedule 11, paragraph 2(d) (i) - circumstances in which periods of entitlement to SSP do not arise.  The amendment provides that entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay will not be prevented from rising where employees are over pensionable age and not entitled to incapacity benefit. 

c) Retirement age of Scottish Auditor General - Section 13(5)(b) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000, (asp1), has been removed  in order to do away with the upper age limit for the post of Auditor General for Scotland.

d) Statutory Sick Pay, Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay -  Amendments to the statutory payments regulations to make it clear that rules about the treatment of a person as an employee apply in the same way regardless of whether the person is under or over the age 16.

e) Dispute Resolution Regulations – age has been added to the list of grounds of unlawful discrimination at regulation 7(3) to which the grievance procedures apply; and listed at regulation 14, which states that discrimination questionnaires do not constitute a written grievance

f) Consequential amendments to Employment Tribunals Rules of Procedure – The removal of the fixed 13-week fixed conciliation period for all age discrimination complaints in order to bring it in line with other discrimination complaints which have no fixed period of conciliation thus allowing conciliation to continue until a Hearing.

The regulations are available on the website of the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) (see external links)

The Explanatory memorandum is also available from the OPSI site (see external links)

Guidance

Acas has published good practice guidance on the regulations - "Age and the Workplace".  The on-line guide for employers and for individuals is available on the Acas website (see External Links).  Printed copies can be ordered from Acas.

Information about the new retirement procedures and the transitional arrangements is available (see Related Links).

Information about the legislation and vocational training is available (see Related Links).

For clarification of Regulation 33 see Related Documents.


The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 Questionnaire (see Related Documents)

When the Regulations come into force a person is entitled to write to his or her employer if he or she feels discriminated against. Although questionnaires and replies can be conducted by letter, the use of the questionnaire will help ensure relevant questions are asked. This questionnaire is for the person with the complaint to send questions to their employer. The matching reply form gives the employer an opportunity to say whether they agree with the complainant or not, they can set out the reasons why."

Scope of Regulations 

The Regulations apply to employment and vocational training.  They prohibit unjustified direct and indirect age discrimination, and all harassment and victimisation on grounds of age, of people of any age, young or old.

As well as applying to retirement they

  • remove the upper age limit for unfair dismissal and redundancy rights, giving older workers the same rights to claim unfair dismissal or receive a redundancy payment  as younger workers, unless there is a genuine retirement;

  • allow pay and non-pay benefits to continue which depend on length of service requirements of 5 years or less or which recognise and reward loyalty and experience and motivate staff;

  • remove the age limits for Statutory Sick Pay, Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay and Statutory Paternity Pay, so that the legislation for all four statutory payments applies in exactly the same way to all;

  • remove the lower and upper age limits in the statutory redundancy scheme, but leave the current age-banded system in place. Click on the External Links to see the Written Statement about this to Parliament on 2 March;

  • provide exemptions for many age-based rules in occupational pension schemes (they are contained in Schedule 2 to the Regulations).

Regulatory Impact Assessment 

The final Regulatory Impact Assessment is also available.  It assesses the costs and benefits of the legislation. 

For information about "Age Positive" and the "Be Ready" campaigns (see External Links).