The Equality Act outlaws discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the basis of age. However, unlike other areas of the legislation, discrimination on the basis of age can be lawful if it is objectively justified.
For example, workers under 18 are entitled to a daily rest period of 12 hours, a weekly rest of 48 hours and a 30-minute break if working more than 4.5 hours. Employees who have not achieved set standards in education are also entitled to reasonable paid time off for relevant training.
Prospect supports guidelines for good practice issued by the Department for Work and Pensions to promote the benefits of employing a mixed-age workforce, including:
- Removing age limits from recruitment advertisements and avoiding using words like “young” or “mature”
- Using a mixed-age interview panel in the selection process, wherever possible
- Promoting people on the basis of measurable performance and demonstrated potential rather than age
- Offering employees of all ages the opportunity to train and develop themselves, and encouraging reluctant older and younger workers by using employees who have benefited from training as role models
- Basing redundancy decisions on objective, job-related criteria. Automatically making workers over a certain age redundant, or operating a “last-in-first-out” system, will lead to a loss of key knowledge, skills and corporate memory
- Agreeing on a fair and consistent retirement policy with employees, offering pre-retirement support and, where possible, considering flexible or extended retirement options.
Public resources for age
- EHRC advice and guidance: Age discrimination
- TUC and CIPD guidance: Managing Age
- TUC report: Talent not tokenism: The business benefits of workforce diversity
- British Youth Council website: empowering people aged 25 and under
- Age UK website: the UK’s largest charity working with older people
- EfA website: employment help and advice for all people of all ages
- The Age and Employment Network: for older people in work or seeking work
- Age Action Alliance toolkit: Guidance for Managers of Older Workers
- DWP booklet: summary of the Age Action Alliance toolkit for employers
Please let us know if any of the links on this page are not working by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can either remove or fix them where possible.
Prospect resources for equality and diversity
Prospect provides advice and guidance on a range of equalities issues, which can be accessed under the Resources tab in the left-hand navigation menu. This includes links to guides, posters and leaflets etc.