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Ageism rife in the UK despite employment law changes

21st March 2013

In October 2011, the law was changed so that employers could not legally ask a worker to retire once they had reached the statutory age.

Now, a report published by the Age and Employment Network has revealed that the employment protection law has worked conversely for the very group it aimed to protect and employers are now reluctant to take on more elderly workers because, the report suggests, they fear their business will be stuck with workers who are too old to be effective.

Businesses can seek to sack workers who are unable to do their jobs, but this type of case will usually result in an employment tribunal, and workers, with the help of employment lawyers, are often able to defend their unfair dismissal claim.

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that currently there are 177,000 unemployed over-50s in the UK who have been unemployed for more than 12 months. In 2008 that figure was 93,000.

ONS figures also show that there are 300,000 workers aged 70 or above in the UK at this time and the National Pensioners’ Convention say that for many they are working because there is no other way to survive financially.

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