Rights for older staff set to come of age

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Rights for older staff set to come of ageOn 2 May 2000 in Personnel Today The Government’s long awaited report into “active ageing” – the question ofhow to keep older workers in the labour market – throws down some interestingchallenges for HR professionals in the UK. It is clear that we are watching theopening developments in the process of age diversity becoming the next bigequality issue.What is interesting is the way the Cabinet Office has chosen to approach theissue from an economic point of view, talking in terms of the loss toproductivity and the cost to taxpayers through extra benefit payments.So why should employers and HR professionals take age discriminationseriously? At a fundamental level, while half the population are women, and asmaller proportion come from an ethnic minority background, we are all going toget older.There are huge training (and re-training) issues for everyone to consider.As the report highlights, one disadvantage that older workers do suffer from ishaving obsolete skills. Can anyone really doubt that with the breakneck pace oftechnological evolution this is going to get any better? Particularly with thedeath of the job-for-life for many employees, multi-skilling and lifelonglearning become even more important.There is the loss of corporate memory organisations have reported when theyfail to value the contribution of older workers. People do not work for decadesin the same job without picking up a few tricks of the trade.Finally, the bottom line is that if companies do not pull there socks up onage diversity the Government will bring in anti-discrimination legislation.This is something few employers will relish, but given the record of voluntaryself-improvement let’s face it the legislation will be on the way.While the PIU can only make recommendations, this report is an importantdocument nonetheless as it doubtless points up the kind of issues HRdepartments are going to need to start thinking about over the next few years.It might not be as important as legal rulebooks, but keeping a copy close tohand would not be a bad idea.last_img read more