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Older female worker 4

"Our employment policies and procedures are well-publicised and transparent, which helps to ensure that all our staff are treated equally. Our benefits package caters for staff of all ages. Staff turnover fell by 14 per cent in just two years and sickness absence is at an all-time low of just over two per cent."

London and Quadrant

Good Practice

Employee benefits and pay

Any benefits for employees who have been with the company for less than five years are exempt under the age regulations. These may include bonuses, holiday entitlement or other benefits.

Length of service criteria is acceptable when making decisions on how to reward staff as long as this is within the five years limit. However, if this exceeds the five year cut off it is necessary for the employer to be able to show that the employee benefit is related to the business, for example by additional experience, loyalty or motivation.

When considering other benefits such as eligibility to join a pension scheme, all staff should be treated fairly and factors such as age and part-time working should not influence eligibility.

Staff need to know about benefits to take advantage of what an employer offers. By making sure that any benefits such as flexible working are known by all employees, both parties can benefit.

Benefits such as career development, training, educational opportunities or career breaks are for all. Older employees can improve their performance as much as their younger colleagues through training and investing in their career.

Employers should check that all employees are receiving benefits and pay that relate to their skills, level of experience and loyalty, and not to their age. If rates of pay are linked to age, it is likely that this is unlawful unless it is related to National Minimum Wage rules.

National Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage is not affected by the age regulations. Employers may pay different rates to employees within two different age bands as long as they are within the legal rates.

These are:
Band 1 - 16 and 17 years
Band 2 - 18 to 21 years
Band 3 - 22 and over.