Social care employers using potentially discriminatory practice

Social care employers are generally in a better position to implement age discrimination regulations this October than others, but a significant number are using practices that are potentially discriminatory.

That was the message from a government-commissioned report on age-related employment practices in health and social care launched today by pensions reform minister James Purnell.

It found that almost 90 per cent of social care employers had equal opportunities policies that mentioned age, compared with just over 80 per cent in health and 56 per cent across the whole workforce.

But almost half of social care employers collected information on age on job application forms and passed it on to shortlisters and interviewers, increasing the risk of unfair discrimination. This compared with just over 20 per cent of health and about 35 per cent of all employers.

And 15 per cent used incremental pay scales lasting more than five years, which is unlawful because it discriminates against younger employees, compared with 5 per cent of all organisations.

The survey of employers finished last spring so practice may well have improved since then.

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 come into force on 1 October and ban age discrimination in recruitment, promotion and training and “unjustified” retirement ages below 65.




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