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Best practice on age laws rewarded


Age Positive ‘employer champion status’ has been awarded to a new tranche of organisations who have demonstrated exemplary age diversity practices.

One of the latest winners is the Co-operative group, which employs more than 68,000 people in the UK and is the country’s largest co-op food retailer, independent travel retailer and also operates as a funeral director, a pharmacist and a bank.

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations laid down a default retirement age of 65 but the Co-operative Group has gone one step further and removed its contractual retirement age altogether, meaning employees can continue working for as long as they want. Currently, it has 793 employees over 65 and 11,300 over 50.

As well as providing training for managers, the Co-operative Group has also redesigned its job application forms so dates of birth are not visible to recruiters.

When it comes to performance management, the group has adopted a process which looks at both how well someone has performed and how they went about doing it, saying that concentrating on performance and contribution effectively ‘age proofs’ the system.

Martin Beaumont, group chief executive of the Co-operative Group, said: “I am delighted that the Co-operative Group has been recognised as an Age Positive employer champion.

“Through actions such as the removal of our retirement age and training for our managers, we have worked to ensure that our employees are judged on ability alone and no other factor. I’m particularly pleased that our efforts have been recognised and we will continue to develop our policies to remain an employer of choice for people of all ages.”

Age Positive is a Department of Work and Pensions initiative aimed at promoting the benefits of employing a mixed-age workforce.

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