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Be ready for age discrimination legislation

The Age Partnership Group (APG) – a high profile partnership of industry bodies, government departments and employer representatives – is helping transport employers “Be Ready” for legislation on age discrimination, scheduled for October 2006.

The Group, which includes members such as Federation of Small Businesses and British Chambers of Commerce, is providing a range of free information materials outlining how employers can create an age diverse workforce. The materials include details on the legislation, case studies, top tips on implementing good practice, research addressing perceptions of age at work, and two complete e-learning packages.

Legislation on age will prohibit unjustified age discrimination in employment and vocational training. It will affect all areas of employment including recruitment, selection, training, promotion, retirement and redundancy.

Companies within the transport sector are already taking steps to prepare for the legislation. FirstGroup, which offers freight and passenger services in the UK, has officially been recognised by the Government campaign, Age Positive, for implementing age diverse practices.

FirstGroup recruits solely on the basis of ability and is committed to employing a mixed-age workforce, in part to ensure that the composition of its workforce reflects the mixed communities it serves. The Group has introduced a range of benefits and opportunities that meets the needs of all employees, whether older or younger. The ‘First Flexible Decade’ benefit scheme, for example, enables employees between the ages of 60 and 70 to combine flexible working opportunities with pension scheme options. Older workers also act as mentors for new employees during the training process and beyond.

Employers can request information direct from the APG by calling a free order line on 0845 715 2000 or emailing apg@isky.co.uk. Further information can be found at www.agepositive.gov.uk/agepartnershipgroup

The APG:
The APG ‘Be Ready’ campaign is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions. It is intended to promote the benefits of an age diverse workforce, and is aimed at all ages.

The APG partners in England include: Acas, Association of British Insurers, The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, British Chambers of Commerce, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Chartered Management Institute, Confederation of British Industry, Department of Trade and Industry, Department for Work and Pensions, EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, Employers Forum on Age, Employers Organisation for local government, Federation of Small Businesses, HM Revenue and Customs, Institute of Directors, National Association of Pension Funds, Small Business Service, Society of Personnel Officers in Government Services and Trade Union Congress. Other groups represent the APG Wales and Scotland and further information can be found on the APG website.

Age legislation is scheduled to be implemented by October 2006.

The APG partners represent a range of organisations from small, medium and large employers, local authorities, trade unions, training organisations, HR and personnel managers, pensions organisations and government departments. Separate bodies exist for England, Scotland and Wales.

The APG information material includes:

A “Personnel Organiser” – This is a filofax providing help and information for employers including details on the legislation, case studies and top tips.

CD Rom – The CD Rom includes a range of practical help and advice from partners and other organisations including the Health & Safety Executive and Pension Service. It also has a range of APG-commissioned reports combating myths about employing younger and older workers and two complete e-learning training packages dealing with age diversity and raising financial education.

Newsletter – Includes features from APG members on issues affecting employers and on how age legislation is likely to impact on areas such as insurance, pensions and specific industries.

FAQ document – 10 key points on the legislation and answers to frequently asked questions.

Further information on the legislation is available from the DTI website: http://www.dti.gov.uk/er/equality/age.htm

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