The Government Equality Office (GEO) has confirmed that it intends to create tailored specific exemptions which will, in certain circumstances, permit age discriminatory practices in the offering of financial services to adults aged 18 and over.

The Equality Bill, amongst other things, proposes to prohibit those providing goods, facilities and services from discriminating against adults aged 18 and over. Therefore legislation is needed to implement any proposed exemption.

The GEO has said that the exception will be set out in a draft Order, on which it will consult. In its June 2009 consultation, the GEO indicated that it would lay the draft Order before Parliament in 2011, with the intention of it come into force in 2012.

Comment

This exemption, if enacted, may affect how employers and pension schemes can offer financial service products to employees.

Currently both employers and pension schemes are subject to age discrimination laws whereas the providers are not. Amongst other things, this can cause problems if flexible retirement benefits are being offered.