Garden centres set to benefit from new retirement rules

New legislation preventing the discrimination of over 65-year-olds has been welcomed by the industry.

Garden centres have welcomed DTI legislation combating discrimination against older people in employment. Consultation paper Equality & Diversity: Coming of Age may open the way for more people to continue working past the age of 65. If passed, the regulations will come into force on 1 October 2006. Pat Adams, representative of the Garden Centre Association (GCA), confirmed that the new legislation is a way for garden centres to alleviate the skills crisis. She added: “Older people have a wealth of experience that can be greatly suited to garden centres — especially in the current skills crisis.” B&Q already employs older people in its stores. Ian Cheshire, B&Q chief executive, said an age-diverse workforce reflects its customer profile better. He added: “We have found that older workers have a conscientious attitude, a real enthusiasm and a great rapport with customers.” Steve Myatt, GCA chairman and managing director of Walbreck Garden Centre, believes the industry is already employing older people. He said: “I feel garden centres are already ahead of other retailers in employing the 65-plus generation.” The consultation period has now ended and the final version of the regulations will be published early in 2006.

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