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Age Discrimination

Volume 451: debated on Monday 30 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if his Department will (a) carry out an age audit of its staff to establish an age profile of its workforce, (b) negotiate an age management policy with trade unions and employees to eliminate age discrimination and retain older workers, (c) identify and support training needs and offer older staff flexible working to downshift towards retirement and (d) extend to over-fifties the right to request to work flexibly and the right to training with paid time off; and if he will make a statement. (96506)

The Department maintains a clear view of the age profile of its workforce. The position as at June 2006 is in the following table.

Age Range

Permanent and Fixed Term Appointments (Headcount)

Percentage

< 20

592

0.5

20 < 25

5,742

4.7

25 < 30

10,408

8.4

30 < 35

12,703

10.3

35 < 40

18,243

14.8

40 < 45

22,836

18.5

45 < 50

20,903

17.0

50 < 55

15,798

12.8

55 < 60

11,994

9.7

60 < 65

3,802

3.1

65+

300

0.2

Total

123,321

The Department does not discriminate on grounds of age and recently implemented a policy of having no mandatory retirement age for all DWP employees below the Senior Civil Service. DWP employees in the Senior Civil Service are managed centrally by the Cabinet Office and have a mandatory retirement age of 65.

The Department identifies and supports training which is needed to enable delivery of DWP business, irrespective of an employee's age. All employees, irrespective of age, are able to request flexible working practices to help meet their particular commitments, commensurate with continuing to support delivery of the Department's business needs. Employees who have reached minimum pension age of 60 are similarly able to request to draw their accrued pension benefits and keep working, either on reduced hours or in a lower grade. Any training necessary to support delivery of the Department's business is conducted as part of paid working time.