Report hightlights difficulties faced in workplace by the over 40's

As politicians give warm reception to new age discrimination laws

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Politicians from both sides of the House showed their support for the new Age Discrimination law last week when they met with employers, older workers and special interest groups at a House of Commons reception hosted by Andrew Slaughter MP.


James Purnell MP, Minister of State for Pensions Reform in the Department of Work & Pensions, and Philip Hammond MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Work & Pensions gave their backing to legislation which protects the rights of older workers, by explaining to employers from both the public and private sectors how the new rules will affect them.


The event was organised by Third Age Foundation, a centre in Hammersmith that works with people aged 40 and over and helps them to develop their skills and return to the workplace. TAF has previously produced a report about age discrimination at work, entitled “Past It at 40?” which revealed the difficulties faced by older workers in the labour market.


The aim of the reception was to celebrate the new legislation, which came into effect on 1 October 2006, and to raise awareness amongst employers of how they will now be required to deal with older members of staff. Any redundancy policies must now treat workers alike, regardless of age, while there is now no upper age limit for unfair dismissal and redundancy rights, even for those over 65. Recruitment, terms and conditions, promotions, transfers and training will also be covered by the new law.


Sylvia Francis, Director of Projects at Third Age Foundation, says: “I’m delighted that two such senior politicians as James Purnell MP and Philip Hammond MP were able to join us in showing their support for the new age discrimination law. Here at the Third Age Foundation we passionately believe that older people can bring a great amount to the workplace, not least in terms of experience, customer service and reliability. With the number of people aged between 50 and 69 set to increase by 17 per cent in the next ten years, employers can no longer afford to ignore or neglect older workers, as this legislation so clearly shows.  There is also a business case and a rationale for plugging current skills gaps.”


Any employer or older person wishing to learn more about Third Age Foundation should call the centre on 020 8748 9898 or visit


'Main speakers.jpg' shows Sylvia Francis, director of Third Age Foundation, with (left to right) Andrew Slaughter MP; James Purnell MP, Minister of State for Pensions Reform in the Department of Work & Pensions; and Philip Hammond MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Work & Pensions.


October 9, 2006