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New Age Policy ‘ASDA’ Be Good


With less than five weeks to go before the new age discrimination legislation comes into force, ASDA has announced it no longer requires job applicants at any of its 308 stores to provide their date of birth.

What that means in terms of the regulations is that ASDA has gone much further than required.

Under the regulations, companies can still request dates of birth – although it is obviously easier to prove discrimination has not taken place if they are not provided.

Equally – and controversially – the regulations only confer a right of request to work after the age of 65, not the right to work after the state retirement age.

ASDA’s attitude is that the legislation should go further than it does and that age is irrelevant both to its recruitment process and to the job people do. In fact, the supermarket has no official retirement age or process and 20 per cent of its workforce is aged over 50.

David Smith, people director at ASDA, said: “We simply don’t see the point in asking people for their age when it’s completely irrelevant to our recruitment process.

“We take on the best personality for the job, regardless of when they were born. Our oldest recruit was over 80 when they joined us and they’re living proof that age isn’t a barrier at ASDA.

“We also have thousands of colleagues working for us who are beyond the traditional retirement age of 65, and many of these are people who’ve had successful careers in other industries but been forced into retirement.

“We’re now reaping the benefits as they enjoy a second career in retail.”

Ailsa Ogilvie, director of Heyday, the membership organisation for people thinking about, approaching or in retirement, welcomed the news: “At Heyday we are pleased that ASDA is taking a lead in not asking job candidates for their ages and, like a number of other businesses, recruits and retains staff beyond the state pension age.

"Our research shows that as many as 58 per cent of people in their 50s and 60s want to work on either full time or part time, and that mature workers are good for business and good for the economy.

“What a pity that the Government is intending to maintain a Mandatory Retirement Age of 65 in its new ‘anti-discrimination’ laws this October. At Heyday we believe forced retirement should be scrapped – making companies like ASDA the norm, rather than the exception.”


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