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Employing older workers

Figures released in July 2016 by the Department for Work and Pensions show that there are now more people aged 50 to 74 in work than ever before. The stats reveal that the unemployment rate for those aged 50 and above has dropped to 3.3% – the lowest level since 2009.

There are now 9.4 million people aged 50-74 are in the workplace. That is 3.7 million more than there were 20 years ago, with 1.1 million of those currently working aged 65 and over. Employers should therefore be mindful that many people over 50 aren’t getting ready to retire. Employment Minister Damian Hinds has commented: “People in later life are increasingly looking to stay in work and it is important that more businesses look for ways to support them.”

Many businesses already recognise the worth of older workers. For example, hospitality firm Whitbread, seek the skills and knowledge of older workers whilst Barclays’ ‘Bolder Apprentices’ scheme has generated opportunities for individuals wishing to start a new career in later life.

The stats also help to demonstrate the cultural shift seen in the UK over the past few years as older workers now have greater choice about when they retire. Until 2011 it was the case that employers could make staff retire at 65 regardless of their circumstances. The law was changed as it was felt that people are now living longer, healthier lives. It is therefore important for employers to ensure that any policies or procedures they have in place do not discriminate on grounds of age.

If you or your business require any further guidance on age discrimination or any of the other points discussed in the article then please contact us on 0161 672 1425.