Coaliton proposes scheme to pay employers to hire mature-age workers

A SCHEME to get mature-age workers back in employment has been welcomed by a seniors group.

Employers will be paid $3250 to hire mature-age workers if the Coalition gains power.

The gold collar workers scheme, to be announced today, aims to reward bosses for giving a job to unemployed Baby Boomers, aged between 50-65, who face staying on the jobless heap.

National Seniors chief executive Michael O’Neill welcomed the scheme, saying it had been calling for incentives to hire older workers.

“It’s an important recognition of the challenges older workers face,” he said.

“Will it convince employers? I think it’s a start… in isolation it won’t change the workplace, there need to be other measures.”

These included information campaigns articulating the benefits odler workers could bring to the workplace, and adjusting workplace practices so they are more suitable for mature employees, he said.

The organisation said over 50s want to work but in 2009, 60,000 in this age group stopped hunting because no-one would employ them.

He said it took two to three times longer to get back into the workforce after losing a job at 50.

Mr Abbott is also expected to announce that councils would be able to apply for grants up to $100,000 a year to help make seniors’ homes safer from thieves, fire and electrical hazards.

Mr Abbott’s pitch for the seniors vote comes as more older Australians than ever will cast their ballot in the federal election.

His policy push follows a big spike in support for the Coalition in Queensland and NSW, while voters in Julia Gillard’s home states of Victoria and South Australia maintain their support for Labor.

About 6.4 million of those enrolled to vote on August 21 are older than 50 – almost half of all potential voters.

Mr Abbott will give bosses a lump sum of $3250 – equivalent to an incentive payment of $250 a fortnight – to hire a person aged between 50-65 who registers with Centrelink as unemployed, disabled or an aged pensioner.

“Finding work becomes more difficult for the over-50s,” Mr Abbott said. “It will be a one-off payment designed to help overcome the initial reluctance of some employers to appoint older jobseekers.”

The scheme will start in July next year, but the money will be paid only after six months of continued employment. The Coalition estimates 900,000 people would be potentially eligible.

It said the plan would not cause a budget blowout because it would have a “significant positive impact” on employment levels, leading to more tax revenue and less money spent on welfare.

The safety scheme would give councils an annual cash boost to improve the safety of seniors with a focus on home security and crime prevention.

It will cover home safety audits that help the elderly guard against intruders and burglary as well as a safety check on bathrooms, electrical hazards and fire prevention.

It could also fund council schemes to provide safe routes where certain streets are designated as “safe” because they are flat or well lit at night.

Source: The Herald Sun

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