Age as an Equality Issue by Sandra Fredman, Sarah Spencer

By Sandra Fredman, Sarah Spencer

To what volume is age necessarily associated with declining capability? What are the ambitions of a coverage on age equality, and the way can those be discovered in legislation? How may still legislations and coverage deal with age discrimination in healthiness, schooling and employment? should still youngsters be handled within the similar manner as older humans? This publication solutions those questions in a sequence of chapters by means of specialists from quite a lot of disciplines. It examines the character of the getting older technique and gives an in depth research of the idea that of age equality.

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Law enforcement, whether by the police, local authorities or tax inspectors, is for the first time to be subject to anti-discrimination laws, as are the core functions of the prison and probation service, the implementation of the Government’s economic and social policies, certain public appointments, and the activities of immigration and nationality staff when they exceed what is expressly authorised by statute or Ministers. The limitation of the directive to employment and vocational training means that many areas of age discrimination will be untouched if domestic legislation goes no further than the Directive.

The crucial challenge is therefore to demarcate valid from invalid distinctions. What role then can equality play? 63 63 See further S Fredman, Discrimination Law (Clarendon Law Series, OUP, 2002). 38 Sandra Fredman Closer examination reveals that equality is not a unitary concept, but can be defined differently depending on what aims and objectives are identified. A familiar aim of equality is to achieve consistency: likes should be treated alike. This is closely related to the ‘merit’ principle, that is that individuals should be treated according to their merit, and not according to irrelevant characteristics.

In the US, by contrast, 67 per cent are still working at 60, as against 90 per cent at age 50. 10 There are several reasons for these trends. 11 An added impetus to retire early was created by the increased availability of occupational pension schemes, and the fact that many specify earlier pensionable ages than the state scheme without penalties. 12 Equally serious have been the disincentives created by the benefit system. 13 Incapacity benefits are often higher than the amounts a claimant might expect to earn, and therefore create a disincentive to seek paid work.

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