Following news that those aged over 65 are 40% more likely to have been furloughed last April than those over 40, there are widespread concerns that as furlough ends, and as we head into September, we could see mass unemployment for over 50s.
Commenting on the findings of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report into the working lives of people in their 50s and 60s, Partner in Employment Law at Kate Hindmarch discusses the legal rights of those facing potential redundancy at a later age.
Age-based discrimination is difficult to prove
Facing redundancy and unemployment in your 50s can be an incredibly daunting prospect, especially since many workers are still likely to face age-based discrimination during a hiring process. While this is illegal, it can also be incredibly difficult to prove.
When facing redundancy, you should discuss with your employer what selection criteria they have used as it would be unlawful for them to make their decision based upon any protected characteristics including age. Furthermore, your employer must also consider whether or not there are any alternative suitable roles within the business that might be available for you.
Long wait for state pension
The issue with many people at this age facing redundancy is that they may still have to wait over a decade before they become eligible for a state pension and as a result, can become reliant upon government benefits and universal credit, as long-term unemployment becomes increasingly likely.
Advice for employers
This can be extremely demoralising and devastating for someone who may have worked for a company for most of their working life. To avoid this, employers should look to exhaust all other options before deciding to make a worker redundant.
If you are in a situation where you believe you have been selected for redundancy unfairly or your employer has broken the employment contract. Seek legal advice as you may be entitled to compensation.