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Last Updated: Monday, 18 September 2006, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
Small businesses welcome new laws
The new laws that outlaw age discrimination at work come into effect on 1 October.

BBC News canvassed a variety of small businesses around the country, to find out their attitude to the new rules.

Rob Petersen owns an advertising, marketing and PR company.

Rob Petersen

Rob employs four full-time and two part-time staff in Cardiff since starting up two years ago.

My profession has a reputation for only employing younger people.

But the days of retiring on a specific date because you are on the scrap heap have gone.

Recruitment is going to be a potential problem area because some jobs suit younger people, so the wording of adverts in the future will have to be more careful.

From my point of view, there are a lot of people with a huge amount of experience who are older and who it would be a shame to discriminate against because of their age.

They are more worldly-wise and can deal with people better and that's a huge advantage I think.

There should quite rightly be a tightening up of the law. I think it's very important legislation.

Andy Hayes, managing director of North Offshore in Aberdeen.

Andy Hayes

Andy's company employs 100 staff refurbishing shops, hotels, offices and accommodation on oil rigs.

We are very much aware of it and I don't think it is going to affect us to any great degree. A bit more paperwork won't make much of a burden.

We have such difficulty finding staff that the legislation won't make much difference.

I am very happy taking on people at a senior age because of the wealth of experience they have.

Anyone who is good enough, we are desperate to have them.

Formally our retirement age is 65 but if someone comes along and says they want to work on and we recognise them as a valued member of our team, we will allow them to do it.

I don't have the luxury of shoving older workers out of the door.

Mike Bain runs Escape Business Technologies in Aberdeen.

Mike Bain

Mike's IT and telecoms consultancy has been going for seven years and employs 26 staff.

I don't think there's been a clear message about what the legislation is all about.

I'm not sure if you can stipulate experience in job adverts anymore.

We will have to sit down with our HR advisors to sort this out. We do most of our recruiting through an agency so they keep on top of this sort of thing.

I think the legislation is probably a good thing for companies that have been a bit unscrupulous about the type of people they might employ, but for us it's just another level of bureaucracy we have to follow.

I think there has been a bit of a stigma in the past about people near the retirement age but I think the new law is a positive thing.

We would welcome people to stay with us for longer.

Pauline Redpath runs her own recruitment firm Source People in Scotland.

Pauline Redpath

Pauline's company specialises in recruiting legal, accountancy, HR and technical engineering staff for its clients, mainly in the oil industry.

It now employs 12 staff after starting up just two years ago.

We run a lot of the advertising for our clients and plenty has to change, such as using age in any form of advert, for instance asking for an office junior.

Or saying that someone over the age of 25 is unlikely to have the necessary experience, unless there is a genuine occupational requirement.

Employers can still discriminate if they can show that being a certain age is a genuine occupational requirement

Most clients accept this is the way things are going and just ask how they can best get on with it.

They are most worried about their advertising and being caught out and tripped up by the new legislation.

Once they get used to it they will be more comfortable.

Some companies have chosen to remove the date of birth section from their application forms, though you don't in fact have to do that.

Tony Newton is managing director of Biotrace Ltd in Bridgend.

Tony's firm makes equipment for food manufacturers to measure cleanliness and employs 110 staff.

Tony Newton

It's a very good idea, particularly with the demise of pensions in the UK.

There are many people now who are facing the prospect of working far longer than they would otherwise have chosen to.

Anything that encourages employers to operate more fairly with regard to older, more experienced people is a good move.

I don't think it will make a difference to us as we are a very progressive employer in that respect.

We have a critical mass which means we can employ a specialist to deal with this.

There are many smaller companies that can't afford to do that.





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