The final draft Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 were published this month and laid before Parliament. The previous draft Regulations prevented an employer providing employees with service-related benefits based on more than 5 years' service unless the employer had a legitimate reason and satisfied other criteria.
However, the Regulation dealing with service-related benefits has been substantially amended in the final draft Regulations, possibly making it easier for employers to justify rewarding loyalty.
All length of service benefits are excepted unless the disadvantaged employee has more than 5 years’ service. Where the disadvantaged employee's length of service exceeds 5 years, it must reasonably appear to the employer that the way in which he uses the criterion of length of service, in relation to the award in respect of which the employee is disadvantaged, fulfils a business need (for example, by encouraging the loyalty or motivation, or rewarding the experience, of some or all of his workers).
In preparation for the coming in to force of the age discrimination legislation in October, the Age Positive Campaign is promoting Age Positive Week 2006, which will take place on 8 – 12 May 2006. The campaign is designed to raise awareness of ageism issues.