The Charter applies to EU Member States when they are implementing EU law. If for example there is an EU directive that the member state is to give effect to in domestic law, the member state must take into account the EU Charter when making the new legislation. Outside that, there is no obligation on the member state to act consistently with the EU Charter.
When the UK Government drafted the Equality Bill (that would become the Equality Act 2010), they primarily consolidated UK domestic law relating to discrimination. There were some EU anti-discrimination directives to implement but no adopted directives that pertained to age discrimination. See background to the Act in its Explanatory Notes.
At the time of making the legislation there was a draft directive relating to age discrimination. At the time of writing this is still a draft directive.
The Equality Act 2010 does have a general prohibition of discriminating on the basis of age. Age is one of its "protected characteristics". However, the intent of the ban is to prohibit "only harmful treatment that results in genuinely unfair discrimination because of age. It should not outlaw the many instances of different treatment that are justifiable or beneficial." (see the consultation document or the government guidance.)
They consulted on (among other things) whether there should be exceptions and what they might be.
The Act gives a Minister the power to make an order to create an exception.
It is unlawful to discrimate by age unless:
- the practice is covered by an exception from the ban
- good reason can be shown for the differential treatment ('objective justification', 'positive action')
The age discrimination explicit exceptions are headed:
- Financial services
- Concessionary services
- Age restricted services
- Residential mobile homes
And the Concessionary services section says:
4.—(1) In Part 7 of Schedule 3 to the Act (the title to which becomes “Separate, single and concessionary services, etc”), after paragraph
30 insert— “Concessions
30A.—(1) A person does not contravene section 29, so far as relating
to age discrimination, by giving a concession in respect of a service
to persons of a particular age group.
(2) The reference to a concession in respect of a service is a
reference to a benefit, right or privilege having the effect that the
manner in which the service is provided is, or the terms on which it
is provided are, more favourable than the manner in which, or the
terms on which, it is usually provided to the public (or, where it is
provided to a section of the public, that section).”.
I imagine other EU member states have gone through similar exercises.