Employers could be exposed to age discrimination

05 April 2016

With the introduction of the National Living Wage from 1 April 2016, employers who offset the costs by altering terms and conditions of employment contracts could leave themselves open to age discrimination claims.

An interesting article by the CIPD has highlighted a petition signed by more than 120,000 B & Q staff which accuses the DIY retailer of slashing employee benefits in an effort to offset the costs of the National Living Wage (NLW). This has subsequently led to warnings that employers could face a negative reaction and leave them susceptible to age discrimination claims if they attempt to alter terms and conditions at the same time as they are forced to raise salaries for the lowest-paid.

The petition says the retailer has suggested removing time-and-a-half pay for working Sundays and double time for working bank holidays; a restructuring of allowances for employees working in parts of the UK where the cost of living is higher; and the removal of a summer and winter bonus, which equates to 6 per cent of annual salary.

The article also discusses findings from a survey conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses which found that just over half of SMEs believe they will be negatively impacted by the 50p an hour increase in pay, and will put off hiring new staff as a result, while 41 per cent will cut staff hours. Just over a quarter plan on eroding pay differentials by freezing or cutting the wages of higher-paid staff.

Read the full article from the CIPD.