First tribunal case on age-related flex

Employers offering insurance perks with age-related premiums may have to review their practices following the first employment tribunal ruling on flexible benefits and age discrimination legislation.

In the case of Swann v GHL Insurance Services UK, 51-year-old Susan Swann claimed she had been unfairly treated by her employer because the cost of private medical insurance (PMI) through a new flexible benefits scheme was more expensive for her than for younger peers. The scheme’s PMI premiums were linked to age whereas Swann’s previous cover was funded by her employer. As a part-time worker, however, her flex allowance was not enough to fund PMI.

Croydon Employment Tribunal ruled in favour of GHL as Swann’s flex allowance was also the same as other colleagues of her grade, regardless of age. Richard Steward, director of scheme provider Redbourne, said: “Employers must do the ground-work before implementing flex to justify [situations like this].”