6 Mar 2009

Bored Sexagenarians And Social Policy


I was really disappointed in this verdict today, as I think a mandatory retirement age fundamentally compromises age discrimination laws in this country and under European legislation.

Given that we are only three years away from having more people over 65 in the country in the workforce, it seems completely illogical that people should be forced to retire at the instigation of their employers. Legislation currently states if people wish to continue working after the age of 60 or 65 (depending on their gender) they must apply to their employers at least three months before their birth date. There are certain occupations the have a mandatory retirement age due to medical, health or active service reasons (such as the police). However, the legislation permits people to maintain employment post retirement age in the event their employer agrees. The reason that Age Concern brought this case to the European Council is because they are receiving numerous complaints people are being denied the opportunity to continue working.

(On a digression,given that one major highlight in the news today was concerned over alcoholism and alcoholic related illnesses in the over 65s, you'd think this was reason alone to maintain people in employment!)

it makes logical political and social policy sense to remove mandatory retirement age (unless enforceable for reasons that aforementioned) to ensure that by 2012 there are enough people in this country to sufficiently fill the workforce. Perhaps the European Court wants to maintain free economic movement of citizens and hopes by preventing people from working through choice post retirement age British citizens will eventually accept migrant workers?

In relation to this, it has been noted recently that Britain is experiencing something of a baby boom. Sadly this is presented in a racially, religiously and immigration tainted light, most news programmes highlight the fact that one third of the 1.8 million children being born in the UK in the last year are not born to British nationality parents. The implications are that Muslims don't use protection, and that immigrants/asylum seekers are hoping to "steal" the British nationality for their children. It's important to point out that in immigration legislation the rights of jaw nationality for children born to non-native British people in the UK was removed in the 1990s.

The rate of children being born in the UK in the last year is nearly 300% up on the beginning of 2000s (I really loathe that expression and wish there was an easy way to say it!). this does tend to indicate that although we may encounter employment crisis in the next 10 years, within two generations we may need to send all of our British workforce out to the rest of Europe!

Within the civil service and related authorities the 2012 crisis is commonly known, hence they are removing every personnel and human resources Department across the board and forcing line managers to take training in this area. This has is a negative implications, given that usurping your line manager to to speak to their line manager is it difficult enough issue without needing to deal with what are essentially human resources issues such as conflicts of interest, emotional problems or bullying and harassment. I appreciate this is a digression (again!) That identifies further employment law problems in the next decade.

Where there Age Concern will appeal the decision in the European courts remains to be seen. Personally I appreciate that my 78-year-old grandfather still works (through choice)and my 70-year-old grandmother fills her time after forcibly being retired by spending all of her husband's money (and interestingly indulging in alcohol-related issues!). While the mature members of our society moan that we lack respect etc, perhaps we can begin to demonstrate a better understanding of the issues they face, and the essence of these appears to be boredom!

1 comment:

  1. My mum wants to work past 65 even if it is only part time. For some older people, work and the interaction it brings is a real mental lifesaver! The choice has to be the individuals.


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