Small employers slow to cater for older workers

Many small businesses have yet to put procedures in place to allow employees to carry on working beyond 65 years, despite last year’s introduction of age discrimination laws.

So far, just 25% of firms questioned for The Ageing workforce by Lloyds TSB and Small Enterprise Research Team at the Open University Business School’s have put in place rules giving employees the right to request to work beyond the age of 65 years. Almost half (45%) were still undecided as to whether they would implement the procedures, while 28% said they intended to do so.

The reasons for holding back on implementing the procedures, included an expectation that the laws would create more red tape (40%) and anticipated rising costs (21%). However, 49% of employers did not believe the change in legislation would have a significant impact.

More than half (57%), however, said they would do treat such requests favourably, while just 7% said they would be inclined not to honour requests.

Stephen Pegge, head of communications at Lloyds TSB Business, said: “Potential costs are one of the reasons given by some firms which have not yet established systems to allow their staff to carry on working, but it’s important that all businesses create an environment where older workers are encouraged.

“With skills shortages one of the biggest issues, it’s vital that small firms make the most of the talent older employees have to offer and this may save them money in the long term. Planning ahead now could also avoid costly legal disputes in the future.”