The Employers' Forum on Age (EFA) and British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) together carried-out a representative survey of 250 employers and had half hour one-to-one interviews with another 37 employers to establish the level of knowledge about forthcoming age discrimination laws. With only 90 days to go before age laws come into force, the results make sobering reading:
  • Whilst 63% of employers know that new employment laws are coming into force in October, less than one in four knew that these included age discrimination regulations
  • Only 18% of businesses feel that the Government has provided adequate and timely guidance to help small businesses digest the impact of new employment regulations on their businesses
  • Just 35% knew that the default retirement age would be 65 but a majority 65% knew that employees can request to work beyond the age of 65
  • Despite the Government's assertion that it had sent information packs about new employment regulations to every organisation in the UK only 5% had seen them

BCC Director General, David Frost said: "it is not a surprise that small employers are struggling to keep on top of the new laws which they are expected to comply with. Since 1998 British business has been hit by a £50.3bn red tape burden - around a third of which is employment-related."

Sam Mercer, Director of the EFA concluded: "Clearly these findings are of deep concern. Small businesses can't afford to ignore these laws, people of all ages will be protected and this could lead to a huge increase in discrimination claims. We have worked with the BCC to produce a factsheet to guide small businesses through their new legal responsibilities and give employers the exact information they need"