Concerns over possible mass unemployment for over 50s

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Those aged over 65 are 40% more likely to have been furloughed last April than those over 40.

Now 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 Langleys Solicitors, Kate Hindmarch discusses the legal rights of those facing potential redundancy at a later age.  

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Photo by sol on Unsplash. People over 65 were much more likely to be on furlough than people over 40.

Kate Hindmarch, employment lawyer at Langleys Solicitors, commented: “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.

“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.

employment - Business News Scotland
Photo by Saulo Mohana on Unsplash. The pandemic has lead to any people facing redundancy.

“This can be extremely demoralising and devastating for someone who may have worked for a company for the majority of their working life.

“To avoid this, employers should look to exhaust all other options before deciding to make a worker redundant.

“For anyone in a situation where they believe they have been selected for redundancy unfairly or their employer has broken the employment contract they should seek legal advice as they may be entitled to compensation.” 

A Government spokesperson said: “Older workers are a huge asset to this country, and recent figures from the ONS show that there are currently over 7.85 million workers aged 50-64 on payrolls – an increase of 87,000 this quarter and up 181,000 on the year.

“As we build back better we’re helping hundreds of thousands of older workers to retrain, build new skills and get back into work through our Plan for Jobs and our 50 Plus: Choices Offer.”