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Implications of age discrimination legislation in Jersey

by on September 7, 2016

We have reported before on the rather late-in-the-day introduction of age discrimination legislation in Jersey. This has now come into effect. Broadly this means that people will be protected against age-based discrimination in relation to recruitment, employment, clubs and associations, voluntary work and the provision of goods and services. One of the further implications, reported here in the Jersey Evening Post is that organizations are being warned to review their pension schemes. They will need to give careful consideration to how age is applied e.g. to rules and benefits.

Pension schemes are well known for creating age norms through normalising certain chronological age-based assumptions about work and retirement. Yesterday’s post discussing the retirement situation of Canada’s police and firefighters is a case in point. One of the arguments against allowing individuals to work longer is that the relevant occupational pension scheme was set up with benefits accruing at particular times in line with the ‘usual’/mandatory retirement age.

So this is good advice for Jersey. Here on the BBC news website, the Deputy of the States of Jersey, Susan Pinel, is reported as saying that the new legislation meant employers now need to justify retiring an employee before the pensionable age (currently 65).  This would include the situation where an employee was “no longer fit to do the job”. She warned that this meant that organizations could not force a qualified and fit worker to retire if they wanted to continue working. Let’s see what happens – chances are we may well see a similar debate to that in the UK and Canada.

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