Warning - 1st OCT 2006 - Ageism Law and Seniority lists
Just been having a chat with a manager today and it seems that alarm bells have started ringing in HR depts around the country concerning the new ageism legislation which comes into force from 01st Oct 2006.
Apparently 81% of employers currently use length of service and 35% use age itself as a criteria for the provision of employment benefits such as sick pay, holiday entitlement and level of redundancy pay - all of this will be out of the window! (So much at BA is based on seniority)
Basically as from October, pilot seniority lists and staff travel concessions will have to go and some other scheme may have to be introduced.... so all those years of hard work will be unrecognised. Imagine the queues at the checkin desk if the whole of staff travel is based on a first come-first serve basis? You'd have to book an extra week off to spend at the airport of your choice!
What about redundancy pay? Are we all going to be on the statutory minimum?
The conversation I had today was a serious eye-opener so if you haven't raised it yet then I think it's about time!
I used to be in favour of equal opportunities but in this age of dumbing down and everyone has to be equal then there is nothing for Joe Bloggs to strive for after he's been with the airline 2 weeks over someone that's served loyally for years! That's the reason why there's a total lack of respect in life in general or at work....
Dash 7 your first mistake is believing anything a manager in the airline industry says !!.Most companies are ill prepared for the new legislation,many questions will arise,but seniority is length of service not age related.
Stampe a good point succinctly put....you are absolutely spot on with regard to seniority and age being fundamentally different things....As an airline Manager myself (customer services) I can understand your jaundiced view....but please bear in mind that in this legislation crazed world...UK, EU and who knows what else to come....keeping up with every change is a full time job...and the rules are not always expressed in a language readily understood by anyone who is not a lawyer or legislator!
Bealzebub, thank you for posting the link to the Regulations. I think you should reread para 32 Exception for provision of certain benefits based on length of service, and in particular: Where B's length of service exceeds 5 years, it must reasonably appear to A that the way in which he uses the criterion of length of service, in relation to the award in respect of which B is put at a disadvantage, fulfils a business need of his undertaking (for example, by encouraging the loyalty or motivation, or rewarding the experience, of some or all of his workers). Any benefit which puts someone with more than five years service at an advantage to an equivalent member of staff with five years or less service must be justified. I believe this will be a legal can of worms which will only really become obvious towards the end of 2007 when we get the first cases decided in the higher courts. On the face of it this could challenge any system of increments, seniority etc which gives credit to people with more than five years service. Promotion purely on the basis of service would almost certainly be discriminatory. The first officer with four years service could justifiably claim to have as much ability as one with eight years service and therefore it would be discriminatory to promote the eight year pilot automatically. Similarly, increments which are automatically added to salary year after year would probably be unjustifiable on grounds of age discimination after five years. These Regulations are going to cause considerable change in the field of employment and most people have not yet woken up to how far reaching they will be. Please note that in the USA age discrimination claims take the biggest share of all employment related awards made by the courts against employers. RHRP
,but seniority is length of service not age related.
Stampe - being picky here but currently in my company and many others I believe list those staff with the same joining date i.e. identical 'length of service' by their age when placing people on the Master list.
So the oldest person in a group people who all joined on the 1 July is the most senior of that group and so would appear on the master seniority list first - so he/she as an "elevated" position relative to his/her bretheren on that intake.
I'm all for guys being able to continue commands past their 60th birthday, thats not my gripe here.... but I have to say seniority works. Certainly there are aspects of it that are not necessarily suited to i.e. promotions for example. But for the less critical things, Leave,days off etc. It is as fair as your going to get.
I think there is a blurr here between what is seen as "discrimenation" (which is very subjective) and "Seniority" which can be based on age as a secondary factor. It has been for years the yard stick to which we are all measured against. Maybe it isn't fair to all but then how else does one administer these high demand benefits to a large, remote workforce.
Me'thinks this particular aspect of the new legislation is Ill-suited to our industry. (like so much else I hear the cries)
And before anyone says it..... I'm actually at the bottom of my list.... but at least I know "where" I am.
Bealzebub, thank you for posting the link to the Regulations. I think you should reread para 32 Exception for provision of certain benefits based on length of service, and in particular: Where B's length of service exceeds 5 years, it must reasonably appear to A that the way in which he uses the criterion of length of service, in relation to the award in respect of which B is put at a disadvantage, fulfils a business need of his undertaking (for example, by encouraging the loyalty or motivation, or rewarding the experience, of some or all of his workers). Any benefit which puts someone with more than five years service at an advantage to an equivalent member of staff with five years or less service must be justified. I believe this will be a legal can of worms which will only really become obvious towards the end of 2007 when we get the first cases decided in the higher courts.
Thanks I have reread section 32 which states in paragraphs 1,2 & 3 (the emphasis on certain words is my own):
" 32. —(1) Subject to paragraph (2), nothing in Part 2 or 3 shall render it unlawful for a person ("A"), in relation to the award of any benefit by him, to put a worker ("B") at a disadvantage when compared with another worker ("C"), if and to the extent that the disadvantage suffered by B is because B's length of service is less than that of C.
(2) Where B's length of service exceeds 5 years, it must reasonably appear to A that the way in which he uses the criterion of length of service, in relation to the award in respect of which B is put at a disadvantage, fulfils a business need of his undertaking (for example, by encouraging the loyalty or motivation, or rewarding the experience, of some or all of his workers).
(3) In calculating a worker's length of service for these purposes, A shall calculate—
(a) the length of time the worker has been working for him doing work which he reasonably considers to be at or above a particular level (assessed by reference to the demands made on the worker, for example, in terms of effort, skills and decision making); or
(b) the length of time the worker has been working for him in total;
and on each occasion on which he decides to use the criterion of length of service in relation to the award of a benefit to workers, it is for him to decide which of these definitions to use to calculate their lengths of service."
That seems quite clear. There is no use of the word "justified", the wording is, "it must reasonably appear". An employer (A) may use seniority as the basis for promoting people providing they do not do discriminate on the basis of age alone. There will (of course) always be discrimination on the basis of ability. I can also not see anything within these regulations that prevents an employer from considering promotions on the basis of date of joining provided they do not use age alone as a discriminatory factor. In other words if a 30 year old is considered for promotion by virtue of the fact he has been employed by the company for 10 years whilst a 40 year old is not so considered because he has only been there for 9 years that is not unlawful. If the situation were reversed and the 40 year old were the longer serving employee then he to would be considered for the promotion ahead of the younger employee. He might of course be excluded on the grounds of perceived ability or suitability, but as long as it wasn't simply on the basis of his age (in this case ) or his race or religeon that would not be unlawful either.
As regards certain benefits based on length of service which is actually the subject that this section relates to, then ;
If an employee is placed at a disadvantage with regard to (lets say staff travel concessions) benefits, when compared with a longer serving employee , because of the length of service. paragraph 1 makes it quite clear that Nothing in part 2 or 3 of this section makes this unlawful.
In the case of the junior employee with regard to time served, where he has over 5 years service then it must reasonably appear to the employer that this employee is not placed at a disadvantage except that he can do so to reward the longer serving employees experience, loyalty or motivation, and in so doing it fulfills a business need of the employers undertaking.
In reality this is little different from what already happens in most companies and does not negate the use of a seniority system for such purposes provided that any discrimination is not based (in this case) purely on the age of the employee.
Bealzebub, You might be right, but if the age regualtions are interpreted the same way as the sex, race and other similar regulations, the problem comes with indirect discrimination. Policies which are based on length of service will by nature indirectly discriminate against younger people as they will normally make up the highest proportion of those at the bottom end of the service ladder. There have been similar arguments in sex discrimination cases where women have successfully claimed that they have been indirectly discriminated against because women generally cannot achieve the same length of service as men due to taking career breaks. Similarly I am not convinced that it must reasonably appear to the employer that this employee is not placed at a disadvantage except that he can do so to reward the longer serving employees experience, loyalty or motivation, and in so doing it fulfills a business need of the employers undertaking. How do you objectively differentiate between the experience, loyalty and motivation of people with 8, 13 and 17 years service. It is goes against common sense to say that the these three qualities will all be uniformaly enhanced through people having longer service. RHRP
The figures I originally quoted were from an article I read on line a couple of days ago whilst trying to do some research of my own and I can quite believe that there are many areas that have been overlooked. There is a correlation between age and length of service and benefits that are attributed to it and that's the whole reason for the post , see World Of Tweeds reply.
on a serious note - if any of you are thinking seriously about taking an early retirement package from your employers - that is where your pension is 'enhanced' or paid immediately at a preferential rate........ or if you are thinking about a severence package to leave your employer, which is calculated by length of service - 2 weeks pay per year of employment as an example....
Both of these will be illegal for your employer to offer after 1st OCT, as it would be deamed to be 'discrimatory' as it cannot be offered to all employees.
If this is you............. ask for your numbers now, and start thinking seriously about the process......... there is not much time left.
Have any of you fellow recently retired BA pilots reapplied for their old job back now that the retirement age has been raised? I did and was told that the official policy was that I could do all the normal recruiting procedure and if successful to go into a holding pool with all the youngsters and wait for the call for employment, presumably with no seniority and no acknowledgement of previous, though recent, and loyal service. As I still have current BA LPC/OPC, and having been good enough a few months ago to fly for BA, how can they now have the audacity to suggest I sit in a recruiting room, building lego with teenagers and ticking boxes that I presumably have been able to fill for years, better still do the actual job. Is there no-one in middle management in BA who has the guts or brains to announce that this is a tragic and needless waste of human resources and suggest the rehire of recently retired pilots? One minute you are wanted, the next conveniently forgotten just in time before the new legislation comes in.
I would expect their reluctance to have something to do with cost of employing at your prior seniority level relative to those newbies (if they were allowed to do so), combined with breach of the union-agreed seniority rules on a "new hire", even though you would admittedly be a rehire. I would imagine that if you applied and had enough time to re-retirement age remaining to economically justify training however, you would be at the front of any pool, whatever "HR" tell you prior to actual job offer.
Furthermore, since you no longer have a contract, you would open BA to litigation to employ you ahead of another suitably experienced pilot, as you have not been in a "furlogh" scheme - such as our US friends use on occassion.
Seniority has been a prime factor in airline conditions of service for a long time. This month the (UK) govt introduced rules to outlaw age discrimination. In my view, seniority is impartial and widely accepted. Age and seniority are not the same, although some are making the case that seniority is de facto age discrimination. I'd be interested in hearing whether the legislation is making a difference to the conditions or contracts of ppruners.
Then the "some" are probably just wishful thinkers ! Read the report on This landmark ruling from the European court yesterday stating that experience is an acceptable basis for salary differential. It is more likely that those companies without seniority based systems are going to have to look quickly at their own situation.
In summary : "The European Court of Justice ruled yesterday that length of service was an acceptable basis on which to decide how much an employee should be paid.
In what was described by trade union Prospect as the most important sex discrimination judgment for 10 years, the court added that experience was a key factor in deciding salaries.
It said that, where pay was based on length of service, there was no need for an employer to justify a person's salary unless he or she could provide evidence "capable of raising serious doubts in that regard".
The ruling is expected to hit the public sector hardest, where wide differences in the salaries paid to staff for the same length of service are reportedly much more common than in the private sector."