Government is still looking at prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of age in the workplace, according to Community Minister Wayne Scott, but no timeline is in place.

Mr Scott told the Annual General Meeting for Age Concern yesterday that Government is dedicated to ending all forms of age discrimination, but more work must still be done to prevent unintended consequences.

“There may be other pieces of legislation that have to be modified. We are looking at it and it’s being discussed,” he said.

“It’s something that’s actively on the agenda. I cannot give a time frame but that’s something that my department is actively looking at now.”

The Human Rights Amendment Act 2013, tabled last month, prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. While the legislation also makes it illegal to discriminate in the provision of goods, services and accommodations on the grounds of age, it does not prohibit age discrimination in the workplace.

“The Government is very aware that age discrimination in employment is a serious concern and my Ministry is working diligently on determining the impact on pensions and retirement if age discrimination is extended to the Human Rights Act regarding employment,” Mr Scott said.

“However, it was very important to us to ensure that whilst this research is being concluded we did not delay adding protection from age discrimination in relation to the provision of goods, services, facilities and accommodation.”

He said Government is putting together a cross ministry team to take a look at the impact of including age discrimination in the workplace to the Human Rights Act and prepare a report with options for the Minister to consider and take to Cabinet.

“The Department began consultations with the internal government stakeholders in December 2011 with further consultations in May 2012 to discuss the addition of age discrimination to the Human Rights Act 1981 and the issues surrounding retirement age,” he said.

Asked if Government will be looking at legislation in other jurisdictions to speed the process of implementing such amendments, Mr Scott said: “Absolutely. When you are looking at things like this you don’t want to reinvent the wheel.”

He added that he understood that seniors have a great deal of skill and experience to offer the community.

Mr Scott was also questioned by several attendees about the Government’s decision to revoke free vehicle licencing for seniors earlier this year. He said that in an ideal world all of Government’s services would be free for all but that isn’t realistic, particularly in the current economic climate.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time to get on top of the financial hardship that we are facing, even in Government,” he said.

Article from Royal Gazette