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Feature

Age is no longer a factor

A Rough Guide to the new UK Employement Regs Posted on: 02 Oct 06

Summary

From October 1st 2006 the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 - is coming in to force, making it illegal in the UK to recruit or select candidates based on their age and to discriminate based on age whilst in employment rather than based on skills and competencies. This will apply to discrimination againt young and old, and it WILL dramatically affect recruitment and employment in the UK.

Here is a quick round up of the main points from the Regulations 

According to the Employers Forum on Age:

"More generally, employers must audit carefully their recruitment advertising and procedures. For example, minimum requirements for experience or qualifications are likely to constitute indirect discrimination against younger persons - employers in most cases should therefore avoid language with age-specific connotations, such as "mature", "lively" or "attractive". " - or even "would suit enthusiastic young graduate"

Also "Many employers currently provide enhancements to pay and benefits based upon length of service. It is common to give additional holiday entitlement and longer paid sick leave or to use length of service as a basis for salary reviews. Under the Regulations, this would potentially amount to indirect discrimination, as it is likely to be to the detriment of younger workers. " So it will also be illegal to discriminate by way of pay or benefits (including pensions and insurance) and training based on age.

On the other side, UK workers will have an automatic right to request to stay on at work past the age of 65, regardless of their pension provisions. This means many workers will be able to carry on working, and being paid, whilst collecting their pension. 

  

However, employers may be able to maintain what looks like a discriminatory policy if they can show that they have an "objective justification". ie

show that they are pursuing a legitimate business aim and that what they are doing is a proportionate way of achieving that aim. Nobody seems too sure what this will include, and the DTI's Consultation Document states that: "The test of objective justification will not be an easy one to satisfy". It is likely however, that a 60 year old fireman might not, for fitness reasons, be the best for the job. 

Alternatively there may be a genuine occupational requirement. eg bar staff, who must be over 18, or pilots, who must be under 60 in many countries be allowed to keep flying. Complete excemption for the new regulations will only be allowed for the armed forces and unpaid volunteers.

The penalty for failing to meet them can be an unlimited fine, and anyone who feels they have suffered because of their age will be able to take a case to an employment tribunal.

Although PharmiWeb does keep an eye on the standard of job adverts in its job board, we are not responsible for individual job postings, and it is up to the individual advertisers (who write their own adverts) to ensure that they meet the new regulations. We will however, remove without question, any adverts that are brought to our attention, that we believe do not meet the regulations 

For Further reference and for the full regulations refer to:

The Department for Work and Pensions: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2006/20061031.htm

http://www.acas.org.uk/

Please note:  the content of this feature is for guidance only. It is not meant as an authoritative guide. It is not an authoritative statement of the law, and future changes in the law will make it gradually less accurate.

Mike Wood

Last updated on: 27/08/2010 11:40:18

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