Apparently, as reported in Small Business, a survey of 1,000 small and medium-sized enterprises conducted by an organization called Employment Law Advisory Services (ELAS) reveals that more than half of the UK’s small firms are unprepared for the impending abolition of the default retirement age.
According to Peter Mooney head of employment law at ELAS and therefore a person with a particular point to make, the majority of small firms are aware of the rule changes and when they will take effect, but many still struggle with how to apply the new rules.
‘Expensive death-in-service benefits and healthcare benefits are just two examples of how employing older workers will affect businesses,’ he comments. ‘Risk assessments, access requirements and adjustments for disability may also need revision as workforces grow older.’
He continues, ‘It seems many businesses haven’t actually thought through how the new law will affect them in practice….most of the respondents are unprepared for the rising cost of private health insurance, as well as workplace adjustments for staff with disabilities’.
Well, there’s a one-sided view of how things are. In fact, small businesses have long been those who have disregarded the notion of “retirement age” and happily kept on particular older workers for their skills and experience for as long as was mutually beneficial. It is regrettable that, alongside the raft of other employee-related legislation that may be helpful to those employed by larger organizations, small businesses now have to amend their practices to fall in line with a model that was never really meant for them. But, that being the case, it would be helpful to paint a more positive picture (although that would hardly win ELAS any new clients).
For example there are many benefits related to older people working longer including, for small businesses, stability, the retention of skills and expertise and a ready source of on the job training and development for younger workers. How many businesses large or small have actually thought through these and other positive aspects of how the new law will affect them in practice? Pointing out some of these benefits to employers would be more helpful in the current climate than scaremongering and painting an unrealistically negative picture of the changes.
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