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Removal of retirement age will increase health costs

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Over half of all firms who provide health insurance to staff feel that any increase or removal of the retirement age would result in greater costs to their business in the form of higher premiums, claims a new survey.

The research published today by Manpower also suggests that the proposed changes to employment regulations that would prevent employers setting retirement ages for staff and remove the upper age limit for statutory redundancy pay are likely to come as a big surprise to British businesses.

It found that 61% of the 2000 employers questioned were either unaware of or doing nothing to prepare for the impact of new age discrimination legislation which is due to come into force in 2006.

The DTI has completed a consultation on the draft legislation and is planning further consultation in the first half of this year.

Other key issues for UK business under the proposals include the extension of eligibility to claim unfair dismissal to all employees regardless of age, and the outlawing of any recruitment, selection or promotion on the basis of age unless the employer can justify doing so.

Despite, or perhaps because of, this lack of awareness of the proposed changes, 78% of all employers said they were very confident that they do not discriminate with regards to age factors.

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