September 29, 2009 Leave a comment
And so the “Heyday” case has finally drawn to a conclusion with seemingly disappointing results. Even in its final battle Heyday was destined to be a loser and its (poorly chosen) name will thankfully fade away into history. Let’s hope the new merged charity sticks to its knitting and does not make the same mistakes again. However, that is another story – for another day.
On the surface the outcome of the Heyday case is unhelpful, certainly to those who have had age discrimination cases pending. Much has already been written in the press about the case and we don’t wish to go over this ground again. The judge took a particular standpoint based largely on a historical perspective and this has let the government off the hook, at least in the short term. However, moving forward, it will clear the air and allow fresh and proper thinking instead of continued attempts to justify the previously taken, and very weak, position.
The demographics are moving one way only. The financial concerns of our older citizens and of government are moving one way only. And the skills needs of industry, business and employers at large are moving one way only. The debate can, therefore, move in one direction only. Nevertheless, it has to remain top of the agenda and we applaud all of those organisations which are fighting and lobbying to bring about the necessary changes, sooner rather than later.
We, at in my prime, have a slightly different perspective. We are more concerned with the next phase. How are employers going to manage their older workforces? How are individuals of any age going to plan for the rest of their lives, find the right balance between work and non-work, and determine the necessary stepping stones? And how are employers, employees and government going to work together to find solutions which are in the best interests of all concerned?
The Heyday judgement is just a temporary setback – but nothing in this life worth having comes easy.