Women and Equalities Committee

Older people and employment inquiry

Inquiry status: Concluded

Report and Government response published.

The Committee is continuing an inquiry from the previous Parliament, taking forward the evidence it received before the General Election.

Report published

The country faces acute challenges recruiting and retaining an experienced, skilled workforce in many key public services as well as in the private sector.

It is unacceptable that the nation is wasting the talents of more than one million people aged over 50 who are out of work but would be willing to work if the right opportunity arose.

People in later life are often playing many different roles in society, but those who wish to work should not face the current barriers of discrimination, bias and outdated employment practices.

Discrimination, that was made unlawful more than 10 years ago, is the root cause of this problem.

The Government needs to be clearer that prejudice, unconscious bias and casual ageism in the workplace are all unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.

Government response published

The responses from both organisations are mixed. While the Government does not specifically reject any recommendations, it does not fully accept any, and those actions to which it does commit lack detail and timeframes.

The response from the EHRC rejects the recommendation to develop enforcement action on age bias in recruitment on the basis that it is in the process of setting its strategic priorities and consulting on a draft strategic plan.
 
The Committee has decided that it will follow up on the EHRC’s response as part of its new inquiry into the enforcement of the Equality Act and is likely to hold a separate one-off session with the Government, details of which will be confirmed in due course.

Terms of reference: Older people and employment

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