Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Harriet Harmon finally 'comes out'

The minister responsible for equality has finally spoken, hopefully on behalf of the G'ment, stating that a major shake-up in the law is vital to smash the idea that people are 'past it' once they hit 65.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Miss Harman, said it should be scrapped. Older people would also be given the right to request flexible hours from their employer. People would not be forced to work beyond 65, but would have the option to choose to - meaning they could stay on into their 70s or even their 80s. Like parents with young children, they should also get a legal right to ask to work part-time or from home, or make a range of other variations to their hours, Miss Harman said.

The change in the law would cover staff who have already signed contracts that say they will retire at the normal age.

Having reported this good news the Mail then goes on to comment how unpopular this will be with employers. Clearly the reporter has not done his research. The majority of employers have not signed up for default retirement. The CBI still stands out as the one organisation that has little confidence in managers being able to conduct proper performance reviews. They also seem to be blissfully unaware that all the research we have on older workers states that they do not want more of the same. They want to 'downsize' their jobs. Most are prepared to accept less money for less stress and for fewer days at work. And the upside is that with the demographic timebomb shortly to explode they will be grateful not to lose the expertise and wisdom of this older worker group.

Such a shame that it has taken the Hague case and years of wasted time and distress caused to those approaching 65 for the G'ment to join the other political parties and most other relevant organisations in putting a stop to what Ms Harmon actually calls the 'last legally permitted discrimination' which is against the elderly.

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