This page contains information on the main pieces of age discrimination, as well as other related documents. Scroll down or use the links immediately below to navigate.

UK Legislation

The Age Discrimination Act

There is no such thing as this in the UK and there never has been. This mistake is often repeated in the UK press. 

As set out below, age discrimination law is contained in the Equality Act 2010. Before that it was contained in the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006.

The Employment Equality (Repeal of Retirement Age Provisions) Regulations 2011 (SI/1069)

The finalised regulations can be found here.

The draft Employment Equality (Repeal of Retirement Age Provisions) Regulations

In the long term the new regulations remove the exceptions that currently say it is not age discrimination to retire someone and that retirement is a potentially fair reason for dismissal.

However, there are some transitional provisions (which may contain some drafting errors). 

The Regulations also provide a new exception allowing an employer to limit access to insurance or related financial services to employees under 65.

The draft regulations can be found here.

THe Equality Act 2010 - the majority in force 1 October 2010

This Act repeals the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 as well as several other major pieces of discrimination legislation. It harmonises discrimination law in England, Wales and Scotland (note, not Northern Ireland). The majority of the Act came into force on 1 October 2010.

The prohibition on age discrimination to the provision of goods and services came into force on 1 October 2012.

The Equality Act 2010 can be found here.

The Equality Act (Age Exceptions for Pension Schemes) Order 2010 (SI No. 2133) - in force 1 October 2010

This Order contains permitted exceptions for occupational pension schemes to the non-discrimination rule contained in section 61 of Part 5 of the Equality Act 2010 as it applies to age.

This Order also contains permitted exceptions, relating to employer contributions to personal pension schemes, to the other non-discrimination provisions of Part 5 of the Act as they apply to age.

The Equality Act (Age Exceptions for Pensions Schemes) Order 2010 can be found here.

The explanatory memorandum can be found here.

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 (SI No. 1031) - in force 1 October 2006

These are the regulations which first implemented age discrimination laws in the UK. Click here for the Regulations and here for the Explanatory Memorandum.

Follow this link for a version of the regulations which includes the amendments to the pensions provisions.

The Employment Equality (Age) (Amendment) Regulations 2006 (SI No. 2408)

These are amending regulations which delayed implementation of the pensions provisions of the age regulations. Click here for the regulationsand here for the Explanatory Memorandum.

The Employment Equality (Age) (Amendment No.2) Regulations 2006 (SI No. 2931) - in force on 1 December 2006

These Regulations made substantial amendments to Schedule 2 of the main Age Regulations clarifying and extending many of the exemptions relating to trustees and managers of the pension schemes.  They were introduced following a further period of government consultation. Click here for these regulations.

Follow this link for a version of the regulations which includes the amendments to the pensions provisions.

The Employment Equality (Age) (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2007 (SI. No. 825) - in force 6 April 2007

These amending regulations made a number of consequential changes to other legislation in response to the introduction of the age regulations. Click here for these regulations.

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 Amendment Regulations 2008 (SI No. 573) - in force on 6 April 2008

These amending regulations made minor changes relating to the continuity of employment of government staff transferred between government departments and non-departmental public bodies; and extended the time for lodging a discrimination questionnaire and for lodging a tribunal complaint in circumstances where the statutory dispute resolution procedures apply.

Click here for these regulations.

Other relevant sources

Joseph Rowntree Foundation study from 2001 on options for how the UK could legislate against age discrimination.

Click here for an overview of the background to the study

Click here for a summary of the study

Click here for the study


EU Legislation

EC Directive 2000/78/EC: establishing a framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation.

This is the EC Directive, commonly referred to as the Framework Directive, which requires member states to implement laws to combat various forms of discrimination including discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability and, of course, age.


Official Guidance

ACAS Guidance on "Working without the default retirement age"

ACAS has produced a 20 page guidance note on how employers should operate without a default retirement age. It is available from their website.

ACAS Guidance on "Age and the Workplace"

In April 2006, ACAS published two separate guidance notes on the Regulations, one for employers and the other for individuals. Follow these links to access: "Putting the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 into practice" - A guide for employers and "Putting the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 into practice" - A guide for individuals.