Get set for age discrimination laws

With just a week remaining until the age discrimination regulations come into force, leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton is urging companies to ensure they are ready for the biggest shake up in employment legislation seen this century.

With just a week remaining until the age discrimination regulations come into force, leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton is urging companies to ensure they are ready for the biggest shake up in employment legislation seen this century.

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, as with other anti-discrimination legislation, is based around the principle of fairness with specific reference to overcoming preconceptions about age and ensuring all employees are treated equally regardless of their age.

Nigel Savory at Grant Thornton Norwich says: “No matter what size your organisation is, you will still be affected by the new regulations and be expected to follow them come October 1. It is imperative that businesses act now to ensure they are ready.”

“While many larger organisations will be well prepared, many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) do not have a dedicated HR resource and it will be some time before they are ready to implement the regulations,” continues Mr Savory. “However, there are a number of measures that SMEs can undertake over the next 30 days in preparation for the 1 October deadline.”


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Grant Thornton's top five tips are:

t Identifying where the greatest level of HR activity occurs in the organisation. Non-compliance in these areas present the greatest risk. Key areas likely to be affected are: recruitment/selection; performance management/appraisals; training and development; and redundancies/retirement.

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t Ensuring any rewards or benefits offered are fair and equitable across the organisation and are not biased towards any particular age group.

t Educating employees. Employees often do not realise that they can be held personally responsible for their actions - telling them can be an effective deterrent.

t Consult employees. Having open dialogue with staff helps to ensure they know their opinion is valued and important. It is important to have a management have an open-door policy to be able to answer any questions employees may have.

t Take a look at your Equal Opportunities Policy. It might already talk about gender, race and disability but does it reflect more recent changes to discrimination legislation including age, sexual orientation and religious belief.

Commenting further, Mr Savory says: “These tips are just ways to get businesses thinking about the effect the age regulations will have and how to ensure they are prepared. The cost of getting it right now will be far less than getting it wrong later.”

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