With changes in retirement ages, greater life expectancy and the added financial challenges for many, the result has been a workforce that continues to age. There are many reasons why employers may want to retain or hire older workers, however, there are also considerations that come with managing an ageing workforce.
In the UK, older workers are protected by a employment rights that are designed to prevent age discrimination and ensure that they are treated fairly in the workplace.
It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee or job applicant because of their age, especially when it comes to recruitment, training, promotion, or any other aspect of employment.
In the UK, there is no longer a default retirement age. This means that employers cannot force their employees to retire at a certain age unless there is a legitimate reason for doing so.
If an employer needs to make redundancies, they must ensure that the selection process is fair and does not discriminate against older workers.
Older workers may have caring responsibilities or health issues that make it difficult for them to work full-time. Employers have a duty to consider requests for flexible working arrangements from all employees including older workers.
Older workers are entitled to the same pension rights as younger workers. Employers must provide access to a workplace pension scheme and cannot discriminate against older workers when it comes to pension contributions or benefits.
Employers have a duty to ensure the health and safety of all their employees, including older workers. They should carry out risk assessments and make any necessary adjustments to the workplace to ensure that it is safe and suitable for all employees, regardless of age.
To help retain older workers, offer flexible work arrangements, whether that’s part-time work, job sharing, or hybrid working. These arrangements can help older workers to continue working while still having the time and flexibility to care for family members or pursue other interests.
Provide training and development opportunities. This can help them keep up to date with new technologies and develop new skills, enabling them to contribute more effectively to the organisation.
Employing older workers can bring valuable skills and experience that can benefit other colleagues and can provide a stable and reliable workforce.
With an ageing population and a shrinking labour market, it is becoming increasingly important for employers to recognise the potential of older workers and to create inclusive workplaces that value the contribution of all employees regardless of age.