Employment Equality Act 1998

Savings and exceptions related to the family, age or disability.


34.(1) In relation to the discriminatory grounds specified in paragraphs (a) to (h) of section 28(1), nothing in this Part or Part II shall make it unlawful for an employer to provide—

(a) a benefit to an employee in respect of events related to members of the employee’s family or any description of those members,

(b) a benefit to or in respect of a person as a member of an employee’s family,

(c) a benefit to an employee on or by reference to an event occasioning a change in the F61[civil status] of the employee, or

(d) to an employee who has family status a benefit intended directly to provide or assist in the provision, during working hours, of care for a person for whom the employee has responsibility as mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b) of the definition of “family status” in section 2(1).

(2) In subsection (1)employer” includes an employment agency, a person offering a course of vocational training as mentioned in section 12(1) and a regulatory body; and accordingly references to an employee include—

(a) a person seeking or using any service provided by the employment agency,

(b) a person participating in any such course or facility as is referred to in paragraphs (a) to (c) of section 12(1), and

(c) a person who is a member of the regulatory body.

F62[(3) In an occupational benefits scheme it shall not constitute discrimination on the age ground for an employer

(a) to fix ages for admission to such a scheme or for entitlement to benefits under it,

(b) to fix different such ages for all employees or a category of employees,

(c) to use, in the context of such a scheme, age criteria in actuarial calculations, or

(d) to provide different rates of severance payment for different employees or groups or categories of employees, being rates based on or taking into account the period between the age of an employee on leaving the employment and his or her compulsory retirement age,

provided that that does not constitute discrimination on the gender ground.]

F63[(3A) In subsection (3)

"occupational benefits scheme" includes any scheme (whether statutory or non-statutory) providing for benefits to employees or any category of employees on their becoming ill, incapacitated or redundant but does not include any occupational pension scheme providing for pensions, gratuities or other allowances payable on retirement or death;

"severance payment" means a sum paid voluntarily by an employer to an employee otherwise than as pay when the employee leaves the employment.]

F64[(4) Without prejudice to subsection (3), it shall not constitute discrimination on the age ground to fix different ages for the retirement (whether voluntarily or compulsorily) of employees or any class or description of employees if

(a) it is objectively and reasonably justified by a legitimate aim, and

(b) the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.]

(5) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (3), it shall not constitute discrimination on the age ground to set, in relation to any job, a maximum age for recruitment which takes account of—

(a) any cost or period of time involved in training a recruit to a standard at which the recruit will be effective in that job, and

(b) the need for there to be a reasonable period of time prior to retirement age during which the recruit will be effective in that job.

(6) Where immediately before the relevant day, arrangements are in force in any employment for age-related remuneration, it shall be a sufficient compliance with this Part and Part II if those arrangements are brought to an end within the period of 3 years beginning on the relevant day.

(7) It shall not constitute discrimination on the age ground for an employer to provide for different persons—

(a) different rates of remuneration, or

(b) different terms and conditions of employment,

if the difference is based on their relative seniority (or length of service) in a particular post or employment.

F63[(7A) Nothing in this Act invalidates any term in a collective agreement, whenever made, to the effect that in particular circumstances, where length of service would otherwise be regarded as equal, seniority in a particular post or employment may be determined by reference to the relative ages of employees on their entry to that post or employment.]

(8) In this section “the relevant day” means the day appointed for the coming into operation of section 29.




Substituted (1.01.2011) by Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 (24/2010), s. 102(3), S.I. No. 648 of 2010.


Substituted (18.07.2004) by Equality Act 2004 (24/2004) s. 23(a), commenced on enactment.


Inserted (18.07.2004) by Equality Act 2004 (24/2004) s. 23(a) and (b), commenced on enactment.


Substituted (1.01.2016) by Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 (43/2015), s. 10, S.I. No. 610 of 2015.