Britain's older workers win right to work beyond 65

Britain's older workers will now be protected from bosses who want to fire them because they think they are too old.

The Default Retirement Age (DRA) which gave employers the right to sack staff who were 65 and over purely because of their age was abolished on 1 October. So does this signal the end of age discrimination in the workplace?
The news comes as the latest employment figures show that the number of people aged 50 and over who have been out of work for two years or more has passed 100,000 for the first time - virtually double the figure for the same period in 2009.

The statistics also reveal that the proportion of over 50s facing long term unemployment is greater than for any other age group, highlighting the impact of age discrimination in the workplace.

Age UK hopes the change will prove a major catalyst in ending age discrimination in the workplace which is still rife five years after regulations made it illegal. Research shows that many line managers - responsible for day-to-day workplace practice - are still prejudiced against older workers despite official company policy.

Another study found that only one in six bosses believes their business is equipped to deal with greater numbers of older workers - a potentially devastating finding in a country where the workforce is ageing.

The Default Retirement Age (DRA) was introduced in 2006 at the same time as regulations intended to stop age discrimination in the workplace. But the impact of the regulations was undermined by the DRA which is finally being abolished after a long campaign by Age UK.

Age UK's director of charity, Michelle Mitchell said, "The end of the Default Retirement Age is a victory for older workers who for too long have been consigned to the scrapheap for no reason other than prejudice.

"With an ageing population traditional rigid ideas about retirement are changing. Many people will want to work longer for personal or financial reasons and prejudice should not lock them out of the workplace.

"The government must continue to work with employers and trade groups to highlight the benefits of hiring older workers. And that message must trickle down to line managers who are responsible for day to day hiring and management."
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