Posts Tagged “hire older workers”

Youth employment subsidy may cause significant collateral damage.

Older workers are already losing their jobs as a result of the federal government’s JobMaker initiative, according to Ian Yates, chief executive of the Council on the Ageing (COTA).

“We are very worried,” he said. “Already we’ve seen reports of older workers being laid off so they can be replaced with JobMaker workers.”

Mr Yates said COTA, an advocate for the rights of older Australians, had heard from “several” mature-aged workers being given notice as their bosses looked to take advantage of the JobMaker subsidy, introduced during the recent federal budget to counter youth unemployment.

JobMaker aims to create 450,000 jobs for young people, who’ve been four times more likely to lose their jobs or have their hours cut during the coronavirus pandemic. It offers $200 a week for businesses to hire workers under the age of 30, who are currently on JobSeeker, receiving a Youth Allowance or the Parenting Payment for at least 20 hours per week. The subsidy is $100 a week for workers aged 30 to 35. All businesses, except for the major banks, can access the scheme, which will be available for up to a year.

The Guardian reports: “Treasury officials revealed the conservative estimated benefit of the JobMaker hiring credit on Monday, ahead of a snap inquiry likely to spark calls to legislate more safeguards to the program.”

When the subsidy was proposed, ACTU Australian Council of Trade Unions president Michele O’Neil said JobMaker had many flaws that “hadn’t been thought through”.

Ms O’Neill was concerned that older workers would be replaced by several younger ones.

“You’ve increased overall headcount and payroll, but replaced older workers with younger ones,” she told The New Daily.

“The employer will get double the wage subsidy if they employ two workers for 20 hours a week than if it was one for 40 hours. There’s no requirement for secure jobs or full-time jobs. They could hire them for a short period and replace them with another worker.”

Greens leader Adam Bandt wanted to see details of the scheme, concerned it might worsen the unemployment crisis. And Labor leader Anthony Albanese was concerned 928,000 jobless people aged over 35 would be disadvantaged.

Mr Yates sought a subsidy for older workers.

“Many mature-aged workers who are out of work due to the pandemic are facing disastrous personal circumstances. The Liquid Assets Waiting Period means they must spend their savings before they can get help: savings they will need in retirement,” Mr Yates told senior.com.au.

“Australia needs urgent action, or we’ll push a huge group, mostly women, into poverty in old age.”

Mr Yates supported the scheme but said mature and older workers were “equally vulnerable”.

He said people aged 18 to 24 and over-55s were most in need, and older people took twice as long to get a job.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that the headcount and payroll of businesses needed to be higher after they hired people via JobMaker. He said this “integrity test” would ensure older workers were not exploited.

However, there is already rampant age discrimination in employment, said Professor Marian Baird, who heads work and organisational studies at the University of Sydney.

Prof. Baird told the ABC that JobMaker provided an incentive for employers to “cherry-pick people of a certain age”.

She feared it could encourage employers to “abandon older people in the labour market”.

“So, you could substitute someone who is 40 with someone who is 22.”

Prof. Baird said it was “a recipe for casualisation” because employers were only required to hire people for an average of 20 hours a week over a quarter to qualify for the subsidy.

“Someone could work 30 or 40 hours a week, none the next,” she said. “There’s no indication jobs have to be permanent or ongoing.”

Professor Andrew Stewart, an employment law specialist at the University of Adelaide, said the scheme would be difficult to police.

Anglicare Australia’s annual Jobs Availability Snapshot found that disadvantaged jobseekers, including older workers, were competing with more people for fewer jobs.

This year, eight jobseekers are competing for each entry-level job. If all jobseekers are included, there are 106 jobseekers for each entry-level job.

There are also 1.63 million under-employed Australians who could also be competing for these jobs.

“If we’re serious about helping people, we need to create jobs that match their skills – instead of forcing them to compete for jobs that just aren’t there,” said Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers

 

Source:Yourlifechoices.com.au


A legal action initiated by the Fair Work Ombudsman has resulted in a penalty of $126,540 against a businessman “centrally involved” in a Brisbane cleaning company, the highest ever penalty secured by the FWO against an individual.

In a release, the FWO outlines the penalty against businessman Bijal Girish Sheth, who was involved with Queensland based cleaning company Brisclean Pty Ltd. The penalty was decided in the Federal Circuit Court as a result of action by the FWO.

The case considered whether Sheth was deliberately breaching sham-contracting laws by misclassifying four migrant employees as independent contractors, who were then underpaid. On top of the near-$130,000 penalty, he has been ordered to back-pay the workers $59,878.

Read more: Two businessmen fined over $130,000 in staff wage deductions as four-year long Fair Work case comes to an end

The business paid the workers as little as $17 dollars an hour and did not pay them at all for some work. The court ordered that if Sheth does not comply with the back-pay order, that part of the imposed penalty will be paid to the workers instead, according to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s release on the case.

Another worker was also misclassified, but due to a lack of records, the amount they were underpaid could not be determined. The affected workers are two Indian visa holders and another three immigrants who are now permanent residents.

As the company was placed into administration last year, the FWO could not pursue penalties against the company. Instead it used the Fair Work Act’s accessorial liability provisions to seek a penalty against Sheth.

Principal lawyer at McDonald Murholme Andrew Jewell told SmartCompany that “section 550 of the Fair Work Act deems that a person ‘involved in’ a breach of the Fair Work Act is taken to have personally breached the Fair Work Act”.

“Accordingly, that person is required to pay compensation and is liable for payment of a penalty.”

This is not the first time Brisclean was warned by the Ombudsman, with the FWO cautioning Sheth about sham-contracting previously. Fifteen other allegations of underpayment were made against the company, according to Fair Work.

Jewell believes the history of complaints would have contributed to the severity of the penalty in a case like this.

“The penalty is so high because of the history of complaints and the seriousness of the conduct,” Jewell says.

“Courts are generally relatively lenient towards accidental breaches or first offences, however deliberate breaches and a continued disregard for the law will result in significant penalties.”

A warning to “rogue operators”

Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said in the release that the scale of the penalty should serve as a warning to rogue operators across the nation.

“Even if you liquidate your company, it’s no guarantee of avoiding the consequences of non-compliance with the Fair Work Act,” James said.

“Any rogue business operator who thinks they can short-change workers and get away with it by shutting their company down should think again. We will seek to hold you to account at every available opportunity and you should be aware that we treat exploitation of vulnerable, migrant workers particularly seriously.”

Jewell says it is “common practice” for directors to be named personally, both in cases where the “financial viability of the business in is doubt or where an applicant seeks an additional penalty”.

“This prevents the directors from using a corporation to avoid liability,” he says.

The FWO said in a statement it believes Sheth to be operating the business under a new entity and will be referring the case to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

According to ASIC’s published insolvency notices, four separate applications for winding up orders have been submitted against Brisclean.

James has advised the cleaning industry will “continue to be a priority” for the Fair Work Ombudsman, stating, “Business models that involve exploitation of vulnerable workers are not acceptable and will not be tolerated”.

Jewell believes the nature of the industry attracts workers who do not have comprehensive knowledge of their rights.

“It would appear that the cleaning industry attracts workers without knowledge of their employment rights, such as migrant workers or students,” he says.

Jewell advises businesses wanting to ensure they are paying workers correctly to consult a lawyer or the FWO for guidance.

SmartCompany attempted to contact Brisclean, but was unable to reach the company, and was also unable to contact Sheth.

David Kazachov claims he has experienced ageism as a job seeker.David Kazachov claims he has experienced ageism as a job seeker. Photo: Nick Moir

After hitting the age of 45, David Kazachov started having trouble getting work.

“It is even worse at the age of 50,” he says.

When we say baby boomers are not good with technology and Generation Y don’t have enough experience, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Associate Professor Leanne Cutcher

Despite extensive experience in the finance and IT industry, Mr Kazachov was surprised to be asked if he had a laptop after making it to the final stage of a recent job interview.

Robert De Niro showed old dogs sometimes have the best tricks in <i>The Intern</i>.Robert De Niro showed old dogs sometimes have the best tricks in The Intern.

Well, of course he did, but there seemed to be an assumption behind the question that he was too old to be savvy with computer technology.

But as it turns out, ageism in the workforce is built on a faulty premise, according to leading Australian researchers of intergenerational employment.

Associate Professor Leanne Cutcher from the University of Sydney Business School is about to publish a new study that has found that contrary to stereotypes and assumptions, the most innovative companies are the ones where the age of employees does not matter.

One health engineering company that had a young chief executive officer appointing 65-year-old workers to new roles leading projects was among companies the researchers found to be the most innovative.

The multinational company, Siemens Healthcare, recognised that people had valuable experience to offer at all stages of their career.

Michael Shaw, the company’s chief executive, said Siemens “takes the best people for the job”.

“Personally, for me it’s not important if the person is in their 20s or in their 60s, I am simply looking for the best minds with the best attitude”, Mr Shaw said.

Associate Professor Cutcher said the company had recognised that the idea that younger people lack experience and older people have too much of it “is a nonsense” and “stifles” the exchange of innovative ideas.

“Where age doesn’t matter, there is more innovation,” Associate Professor Cutcher says.

“When we say baby boomers are not good with technology and Generation Y don’t have enough experience, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Because people who have good ideas then don’t share them because they have been told they are too old.

“But you are just going to replicate the same ideas where you start labelling people as either too old or too young for a role. Where that is happening, it is stifling knowledge exchange.”

Associate Professor Cutcher said younger workers were positive about learning from older colleagues.

“We have this false idea that only young people can innovate and our research has found it has really big implications for the effectiveness of the organisations.”

“While there is robust evidence that older people can be part of a sustainable solution to job market challenges, existing and inaccurate perceptions of the Baby Boomer generation detract from the value of employing the over-50 population.”

Another new study to be released on Thursday by the Australian Seniors Insurance Agency reveals that age discrimination in the workplace is rife.

It found that close to half the Baby Boomer respondents claimed they have been turned down for a job since they turned 40.

The agency’s spokesman, Simon Hovell, said the study of 1200 people across Australia found three in five people over 50 said that they faced substantial obstacles in attempts to find a job.

More than two in five respondents said they felt stuck in rut because they felt a career change, opportunities or promotions were limited.

Baby Boomers said it took longer than six months to find a new job when making a career move. One in six said it took them five years or more to find a job.

Mr Hovell said Generation Y was costing up to $2.8 billion more than Baby Boomers a year to the Australian economy.

“Baby Boomers typically take three days sick leave on average per year, which doubles for Gen Y’s at an average of six days,” Mr Hovell said.

The research also found that more than three quarters of Baby Boomers adapt well to technological innovations, and 73 percent are actively seeking training opportunities.

“The findings point to what many organisations, academics and economists have known all along – Baby Boomers are a real asset to the workplace,” said Mr Hovell.

Source: SMH.com.au

Younger workers in the early years of their career are expecting to retire at the age of 52 – 15 years before the federal government has decided they should stop working.

Across all age groups, the expectation of having a job for life no longer exists for more than two thirds of Australian workers, a new national survey has found.

Deloitte Access Economics surveyed 1400 people around the country across a variety of professions and ages and warned that growing confidence in younger generations needs to be balanced with more realistic expectations.

The report says an increase in confidence after the global financial crisis may be “creating unrealistic expectations”, particularly in younger people with less than five years’ experience in the workforce.

“Our survey shows that, on average, early career employees think they will retire at the age of 52,” the Deloitte report says.

“Given the increasing costs of retirement, the smaller workforce and pressure on government budgets, this seems untenable. Policy makers may need to adjust the expectations of younger workers to this reality.”

More than half younger workers also believe their qualifications are not very relevant to their work.

But the survey also found higher education qualifications were increasingly transferable. About 40 per cent of university education employees have a degree outside their primary areas of work.

The study, Future of Work: How can we adapt to survive and thrive?, found that 60 per cent of people surveyed expect to change roles or industries in the next 10 years. And 67 per cent expect their existing job will no longer exist, or require a new skills set, within 15 years.

Almost one third of employees said changes in technology are most likely to drive job change.

Two in five said they were uncertain or nervous about their employment future, with most feeling positive or excited about change in their careers.

Of those looking to change jobs in the next 10 years, three in five expect to work in a different industry or role.

“A job for life just doesn’t have a place in our modern society,” declared Lee White, chief executive officer of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, which commissioned the report.

“Each of use needs to recognise that our skills set, if left un-nurtured, will quickly become obsolete.

“Individuals need to ask themselves what skills they’ll need to succeed in an automated society.”

Mr White also questioned whether school curriculums were up to the task of teaching “transferable skills and a different mindset about the future world of work”.

Michael Warren, the national training manager for Landscape Solutions in Sydney is among employers taking the re-skilling of workers into its own hands with in-house training in how to use the latest in technology. Employee Paul Scurfield was recently trained in how to use technologically advanced plant equipment for commercial landscaping.

“Generic training about plant equipment is available but we had to retrain our operators to use the new technology in the specific context of commercial landscaping,” Mr Warren said.

The new survey also found that the development of specialist versus generalist skills varied from industry to industry.

However, a generalist set of skills may be more useful in a rapidly changing labour market.

“The question then becomes: should these generalist skills be emphasised more in the formal education system, or can they be imparted in the workplace?,” the Deloitte report says.

“Such questions and the nature of skills development more broadly will become an increasingly important consideration for employees in the future as the interaction between skills, employment and careers becomes more fluid.”
Source: The Age

Association of Superannuation Funds boss Pauline Vamos wants at least a three-year lead time for major changes to super or pension policies.

Association of Superannuation Funds boss Pauline Vamos wants at least a three-year lead time for major changes to super or pension policies. Photo: Jeremy Veitch

Treasurer Scott Morrison has put ordinary Australian workers on notice that they should no longer expect to receive an age pension from the government when they retire.

Meanwhile, the very wealthy have been warned generous superannuation tax breaks are set to be reined in.

In a wide-ranging speech on Friday, Mr Morrison outlined the government’s vision for an overhaul of the country’s retirement income system designed to ease pressure on future federal budgets: by both reducing expenditure on welfare payments, and limiting the amount of revenue forgone through tax concessions.

The government plans to consult more widely on possible changes next year.The government plans to consult more widely on possible changes next year. Photo: Virginia Star

The Treasurer said government would act next year to alter the Superannuation Act to clarify that the purpose of the country’s compulsory savings system was to enable most Australians to enjoy the “worthy prize” of an “independent retirement”.

“Becoming a self-funded retiree, I think, is one of the most important objectives of any Australian … it means you have choices and control over your life and your care,” Mr Morrison said.

Currently most people can expect to receive at least a part age pension payment from the government when they retire, with their super savings providing a top-up.

Treasurer Scott Morrison outlined the government's vision for an overhaul of the country's retirement income system.Treasurer Scott Morrison outlined the government’s vision for an overhaul of the country’s retirement income system. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

But the age pension should not be regarded as an entitlement for all, but rather a “welfare payment for those who do not have the ability to save enough to fund their own retirement”, Mr Morrison said.

More than twenty years since compulsory superannuation was introduced the system is not yet efficient enough at meeting its objective to “supplement or replace” the age pension, he said.

Mr Morrison said the age pension should remain “as a safety net”, and that people who take time out of the workforce to raise children or perform carers duties should not be left behind.

Opposition spokesman for financial services and superannuation Jim Chalmers wants a low income superannuation contribution retained.Opposition spokesman for financial services and superannuation Jim Chalmers wants a low income superannuation contribution retained. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Enshrining a definition of the purpose of superannuation in law, to better focus future policy changes,was a key recommendation of last year’s financial system inquiry led by former Commonwealth Bank boss David Murray.

The inquiry found that 10 per cent of Australians receive 38 per cent of super tax concessions, more than the combined benefit to the bottom 70 per cent of Australians.

Crackdown on super tax cuts for richest

Mr Morrison also said on Friday that the richest Australians will have to help pay for a better superannuation system as he flagged the government will limit tax breaks on very high balances.

“Super was never designed to be an open-ended vehicle for wealth creation.”

He floated the idea of placing a limit on how much money people can put into super at the discounted tax rate of 15 per cent.

Mr Morrison also pointed to Mercer research that suggests the super tax concessions should designed to enable an income in retirement of 70 per cent of pre-retirement earnings. Opening the door to limiting tax concessions on super has drawn criticism from lobby groups for self-funded retirees.

The move represents a major u-turn, under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, on a core policy promise made by his predecessor Tony Abbott and his cabinet.

Mr Abbott, his former treasurer Joe Hockey, and former assistant treasurer Josh Frydenberg all repeatedly pledged earlier this year “no unexpected or adverse changes to super taxes”.

Mr Morrison downplayed the backflip.

Perception of fairness politically important

“A number of the changes [to super laws] that occurred under the last [Labor] government were egregious, and undermined stability and certainty in the system, and that is why we, in this term of government, have been so hesitant about making any changes in this term,” he said.

Mr Morrison said retirees, and older workers approaching retirement, deserved stability and certainty.

“And yet we must also balance that right with the goal of shaping the superannuation system so it provides opportunity for more Australians, because until tax concessions in the super system are perceived to strike the right balance of fairness there will continue to be calls for more tinkering and changes”.

The Treasurer made the comments during a speech to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) conference in Brisbane on Friday.

ASFA chief executive Pauline Vamos said she supported the idea of restraining access to super tax concessions for the most wealthy and developing policies to encourage more people to save towards a self-funded retirement.

“At the one end of the spectrum super should not be treated as a wealth creation and estate planning vehicle, while at the other we must have a social safety net for the most vulnerable”.

Ms Vamos said the government should provide at least three years notice of any future changes to the rules to allow people time to plan, and that special allowances may need to be made for those already in or closely approaching retirement.

ASFA has called for a lifetime cap of $2.5 million on the amount of money people can accumulate through super.

“While limiting the tax concessions on those very high super balances would only affect about 70,000 people today and not ring in a huge amount of revenue for the government in the short term it would set us up for a fairer and more sustainable system over the next 20 to 40 years,” Ms Vamos said.

Criticism from Labor

Other groups have called for much lower caps.

The Grattan Institute this week proposed limiting pre-tax annual contributions to superannuation accounts at $11,000 per person and taxing investment earnings in retirement, drawing the ire of the self-managed super industry.

Earlier this month Deloitte called for the government to scrap annual limits on how much money workers can tip into their super at the reduced tax rate of 15 per cent in favour of a lifetime concessional contributions cap of $580,000.

On Friday Mr Morrison said there “needs to be more flexibility” in the rules to allow people, especially women, with broken work patterns to catch up – indicating the government is open to scrapping annual caps on contributions.

The government plans to consult more widely on possible changes next year.

Opposition spokesman for Financial Services and Superannuation Jim Chalmers accused the government of peddling a rhetoric of wanting to improve retirement outcomes for ordinary workers, while simultaneously pushing ahead with previously-announced policies that would make leave them worse off.

“While it was good to hear Mr Morrison talking about improving the adequacy of superannuation system, all he offered were thought bubbles,” Mr Chalmers said.

“Meanwhile the government is pushing ahead with plans to abolish the low income contribution scheme by 2017, it is stalling on raising the super guarantee, and has laws before the parliament to weaken penalties for employers who do not comply with their obligations to pay workers’ super.”

Labor’s plan is to introduce a 15 per cent tax on earnings from super in retirement, which are currently tax-exempt, once a person has drawn more than $75,000 a year.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

I am 65, and for the past four years, HuffPost’s office in Los Angeles has been my work home. I am the oldest breathing soul in the building, something that I’ve grown accustomed to. I happen to like my officemates a great deal — and believe that that affection is reciprocated. But without a doubt, being the oldest employee comes with some distinctions — and life lessons. Here are a few:

1. You don’t have to be in the same life stage in order to be friends with someone.
Right now, we are celebrating two recent engagements in my office. Marriage proposal stories are such fun to hear, especially if you are a boomer who came of marriage age at a time when getting down on one knee or asking the woman’s parents for permission would likely have revoked your commune membership. Since my own husband asked me centuries ago to marry him with something like “Wanna?” I appreciate the thoughtful care that went into Ashley and Meredith’s proposals.

I am also genuinely interested in hearing the details of the weddings-in-the-works. I find myself cautioning them to not lose sight of the marriage in planning for the wedding.

In my current life stage, I’m preparing for our oldest child to leave for college in a year. My officemates have a wealth of information about the college application process and the college experience itself since it wasn’t that long ago for many of them. When my daughter applies next year, she will have benefited from the collective wisdom of these fairly recent graduates.

Our milestone events may not be the same, but the enthusiasm we have for one another’s important occasions is real. They came to my son’s Bar Mitzvah ceremony and I almost made it to Anna’s first-house party.

2. I don’t have to go to karaoke night to be part of the group.
Every office has a culture. Ours has a hipster vibe, where fun is encouraged. We work hard and we play hard. We have game nights and cocktail-tasting events. We have drink carts on Thursdays, share free bagels on Fridays and have corporate days where we volunteer. I pick and choose my spots but am always included by all. I like that. It’s the way it should be — even if I don’t show up most of the time.

When you think about it, we’ve always compartmentalized our friends. I have Mom friends and friends from my single days. I have friends from within the world of journalism and friends who are neighbors. I also have movie friends and hiking friends and trying-new-restaurant friends. I think it’s fine for boomers to have millennial friends.

3. If I’m their mentor, they are my educators.
I’m maternal by nature, which means I like to share the experience of my years — mostly about life, but sometimes about work too. And of course old dogs can be taught new tricks. Which makes us perfect. I like to think that I push the bar up journalistically here in the office. With my colleagues’ help I’ve become one of those 65-year-olds who knows more about the Internet than all her same-age friends.

4. We share indignation.
Except for my insistence that real music died about 10 years after Woodstock, our views are largely aligned. One thing I love is their support whenever I go off on age discrimination. Think about it: Many millennials can’t get their foot in the corporate door and many boomers like me have no plans to go anywhere. That alone could trigger animosities among lessers.

But in our case, they share my indignation over the small stuff that makes me explode. For example, companies that recruit for “digital natives.” I love that expression — digital natives — except when I see it in a job posting. Digital native means someone who was born with a cellphone in his or her hand. It’s been showing up lately in job postings when the company wants to hire someone young and has been cautioned against by H&R offices worried about age discrimination suits. I’m not sure how long the term “digital native” will be around, but I do know that my young friends agree with me that older people have a place in the workforce — and that we in fact enrich the office.

5. I am a walking history book, and they are the future chapters.
As digital natives — well, they are — they often encourage me to talk about the good old days of print journalism. They were shocked when I told them how 35 years ago, a county judge in New Jersey booted me out of the courtroom where I was reporting on a trial because I was wearing a pant suit. Ladies, he told me, wore skirts to his court and to do otherwise was showing disrespect. The next day, every female reporter I knew came to court with me — all of us wearing pant suits.

My young colleagues were equally stunned when I explained how I was told that I couldn’t be promoted because to do so would take a paycheck out of the hands of a “family breadwinner,” and how more than once I was asked why I didn’t just get married and have kids.

From my colleagues, I have learned how the new dress-for-success look is often my jeans and boots. They are my go-to resource for all things current. I now know where to shop, eat, drink and vacation. Heck, I even got Netflix to be able to join in the conversation.

6. Cash v. Card.
This continues to be our big divide. What is it with millennials and their aversion to cash? They all use plastic all the time for everything, including buying a soda off the food truck. I carry cash. It comes in handy for handing over to a mugger, which is precisely why I suspect they don’t carry any.

7. Technology made our lives easier.
At the risk of sounding trite, there really is an app for everything. And I thank my young colleagues for sorting through the clutter and letting me know which ones will really make my life easier. I knew about Uber, but not UberEats — which delivers a fresh lunch to my office in under five minutes. (H/T Joe Satran, HuffPost Taste writer.) From Healthy Living writer Anna Almendrala I learned about Withings, an interactive app that tracks your exercise, food, steps, weight, etc. She also was the first one to show me MyFitnessPal. And I’m a total fan of Venmo, a peer-to-peer money transfer system.

Probably more to the heart of things, they taught me that technology isn’t the big scary beast that so many of my own-age peers feel the need to dismiss disparagingly

Source: Huffingtonpost.com

Date:  May 4, 2015

Philip Taylor, Michael O’Neill and Alison Monroe

Much is known about the labour market situation of older workers but no attempts have been made to collate this knowledge in a way that aids government policy development.

Particularly useful would be consideration of how to engender positive attitude change among employers and older people themselves.

Particularly useful would be consideration of how to engender positive attitude change among employers and older people themselves.

Any policy interest in mature-age workers is to be welcomed. The Australian Human Rights Commission’s recent announcement of its inquiry Willing to Work: National Inquiry into Employment Discrimination Against Older Australians and Australians with Disability presents a good opportunity to push the issue further up the agenda. But is this the right inquiry, and what is preventing concerted government action now?

Labour-market age barriers are in sharp focus internationally as governments, concerned with the economic effects of ageing populations, have acted to encourage longer working lives.

In the coming decades Australia’s workforce will experience a significant ageing and, simultaneously, shrinking, bringing to the fore the issue of the employment of older workers. In combination with declining birth rates, the retirement of a large cohort of baby boomers is expected to reduce the supply of skilled workers, contribute to a lowering of workforce participation rates, and raise dependency ratios.

Addressing workforce ageing is rightly viewed as critical to the nation’s economic performance, with the Treasury’s Intergenerational Reports referring to the need to improve mature-age labour-force participation rates.

Strategy development concerning the best use of older workers by the Australian economy is long overdue. Ageism faced by mature workers is certainly an important barrier to their employment, as evidenced by research undertaken by the National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre, but an inquiry centred on this risks portraying older people as victims, taking away any individual responsibility.

Perversely, another risk with the inquiry’s singular focus on ageism and age discrimination is that this may add to the stigma older people may face, confirming public perceptions of them as disadvantaged, and potentially further entrenching ageist attitudes. Also notable is that apparently the inquiry has no interest in ageism and its effects on the young, despite state and federal legislation proscribing age discrimination against people of any age.

A reductionist view of older workers’ labour-market problems as being solely a consequence of ageism also ignores key facets of what is a complex issue. A broader inquiry would be more helpful. This could usefully consider such issues as the employability of older workers and the incentives and disincentives to working provided by the social welfare and pension systems.

Importantly, a substantial amount is already known about the position of older workers in the labour markets of developed nations, including the nature and effects of age discrimination. There is a vast international policy and academic literature stretching back several decades, with major reviews and inquiries undertaken by national governments and bodies such as the European Commission and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

With the field already well ploughed, what then could a new inquiry consider? Much is known about the labour market situation of older workers but there have been no attempts to draw this knowledge together in a way that can effectively inform policy efforts in Australia. Notably, there has been a surge in public policy in the area of ageing and work internationally over more than a decade. Nations such as Finland, Germany, Japan, Singapore and Britain have been particularly active. The challenges these countries are facing are not so different that their actions would not provide potentially useful templates for Australia, where policy work to date has been rather more modest. So the inquiry could usefully take a considered look at what has worked elsewhere.

Particularly useful would be consideration of how to engender positive attitude change among employers and older people themselves. In this regard, internationally several projects targeting industry attitudes to older workers have been undertaken, for example, Age Platform Europe, Combating Age Barriers in Employment, and Employment Initiatives for an Ageing Workforce, funded by the European Union, the Finnish National Programme on Ageing Workers, Age Positive, the Employers’ Forum on Age and the Third Age Employment Network in Britain, and the AARP Best Employers International Award in the US.

Such analysis could help increase the impact of the Corporate Champions program, implemented by Labor and retained by the Coalition, which has been one of the more successful ways of creating action by Australian employers concerning workforce ageing. Above all, what is required is a strategic framework containing evidence-based proposals for raising the labour-force participation of older Australians and government will to act. It is to be hoped that the present inquiry will form part of such a holistic approach.

Philip Taylor is director of the Australian Retirement Research Institute, Federation University Australia. Michael O’Neill is chief executive office of National Seniors Australia. Alison Monroe is chief executive officer of Sageco management consultants.

Source: The Age
New program ... The federal government will confirm its expanded work for the dole progra

New program … The federal government will confirm its expanded work for the dole program next week. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

AUSTRALIANS who are under 50 and out of work will be forced to work for the dole from July.

The move comes as part of an overhaul of the job placement system designed to cut red tape and put an end to wasteful taxpayer subsidised training that doesn’t lead to work.

Currently, only jobseekers aged from 18 to 30 who live in 18 trial sites across Australia are required to undertake compulsory work for the dole.

From July, the scheme will be expanded nationally and take in all job seekers up to the age of 49.all job seekers up to the age of 49.

The new mutual obligation requirements will see Australians under 50 having to undertake work for the dole programs for 15 hours a week, for six months of every year they remain unemployed.

New system ... The federal government is poised to announce the outcome of its tender pro

New system … The federal government is poised to announce the outcome of its tender process for the $5.1 billion job services network. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Those under 30 will have to do 25 hours of work for the dole a week, and all job seekers will have to apply for 20 jobs a month – half of what the government initially proposed when it released the details of tender process this time last year and was forced into a back down.

TOUGH CHANGES: Jobseekers must look for work daily

HIT LIST: Abbott government reveals the first work for the dole regions to be targeted

Assistant Minister for Employment Luke Hartsuyker, who is expected to unveil the companies and organisations who won government contracts to place jobseekers in work next week, said the job placement system needed an overhaul because it was mired in red-tape.

“Employment providers had become tied up with endless paperwork — providers told me how they spent more than 50 per cent of their time filling in forms,” Mr Hartsuyker told News Corp.

“Job seekers complained of completing endless amounts of training but with no job opportunities; one job seeker told me he could have wallpapered a room with all the certificates he had.”

It is understood the new model will provide financial incentives for job service providers to place people in real jobs — not just send them to training courses, or process job application forms.

News Corp Australia understands job providers will receive outcome payments after placing unemployed people in work for 4, then 12, and then 26 weeks.

Job service providers will be offered 5 year contracts in a move designed to provide greater consistency for the employment services sector, and providers working in regional areas will receive additional payments to recognise the difficulties of placing job seekers in work outside the major cities.

Laws passed last year designed to crack down job seekers who miss compulsory interviews with their job placement provider, will also take effect from July, and will see welfare payments suspended and not back-paid for failing to attend regular meetings without a reasonable excuse.

In the last financial year alone, about 4.5 million compulsory appointments were missed by jobseekers.

Source:  News Corp

Posted 

Assistant Employment Luke Hartsuyker says local employers need to start seeing the value of older workers.

The Federal Government’s Intergenerational Report, released yesterday, found people will need to retire much later in decades ahead due to the ageing population.

Just 13 percent of people aged over 65 are currently working or looking for work.

Older workers bring to their enterprise a wealth of experience

Assistant Employment Minister and Cowper MP, Luke Hartsuyker

Mr Hartsuyker said those numbers are going to have to rise, as people continue to live much longer lives.

The Cowper MP said employers also have a role to play, in placing more trust in older workers.

“I think it’s important that employers actively look for the benefits that older workers can bring,” he said.

“The Government has a role to play in providing incentives, where appropriate – that’s an important step.

“But I think its important that employers take into account that older workers bring to their enterprise a wealth of experience, a lifetime of experience.”

Mr Hartsuyker said the future of the nation’s economy depends on people working much later into their lives.

“That’s an important element, that we engage our older workers in the workforce, keep them in the workforce and keep them contributing, if we’re going to have the sort standard of living that we want for our future.”

Source: ABC

It’s well and truly time to start thinking about how to make older workers feel welcome, experts say.

“Let’s get over our shock that older workers are going to be there longer and now ask the question about how can we make that useful and productive for everyone,” University of South Australia human resource management research professor Carol Kulik says.

“I think we really do need to be much more accommodating for older workers.”

The experts have some tips for both older workers and employers.

* FOR MATURE-AGE PEOPLE TRYING TO FIND A JOB:

BE PERSISTENT

It’s going to be tough, it’s difficult, but the key thing is to keep at it,” says Greg Goudie, executive director of South Australian employment service DOME (Don’t Overlook Mature Expertise).

BE CONFIDENT

“They’ve got so much to offer. They probably don’t know how much they do have to offer,” Kronos Australia and New Zealand managing director Peter Harte says.

He advises learning how to write a resume and remarket yourself.

“You’d be surprised at the great things that person’s done that they haven’t really recorded.”

NETWORK

Mr Goudie says older workers shouldn’t be afraid to knock on doors, as 80 per cent of jobs that are filled are never advertised.

RE-EXAMINE YOUR WORK EXPERIENCE

Mature-age people do have work experience skills, even if it’s stating that you’re able to work in a group with other people.

“A lot of employers hold that in high regard,” Mr Goudie says.

LEARN A DIFFERENT SKILL

Skilled workers have a greater chance of staying in the workforce than unskilled workers, Mr Harte says.

He advises learning a different type of skill and make sure employers know they can be very flexible.

GET ASSISTANCE

A lot of people who get to 50 and 55 and are out of work for a year can think it’s all too hard and `I’ll just give it up”, Mr Goudie says.

* FOR EMPLOYERS AND THE BROADER COMMUNITY:

GOVERNMENT’S RESTART PROGRAM

The federal government’s restart program – offering a $10,000 incentive to hire and retain job seekers aged 50 and over who’ve been receiving income support – may be counterproductive, Edith Cowan University psychology discipline leader Dr Eyal Gringart says.

“The message this policy sends is that older workers are inferior to younger workers and require special consideration.”

THINK ABOUT THE SIGNALS SENT TO OLDER WORKERS

Organisations don’t signal a very strong openness to older job applicants, Prof Kulik says.

Their websites can have photos of bright, shiny young people and talk about fun and high-energy environments.

“It’s very easy I think for an older job seeker to think `that’s a signal, that’s a code for saying you don’t want somebody like me’. It’s a very discouraging process.”

HELP WORKERS UPSKILL

Mature-age workers in organisations that adopt specific mature-age practices report high levels of engagement, Prof Kulik says.

The practices can be to help older workers upskill, having alternative career paths so an employee can move into phased retirement, take on a new work assignment or mentor junior people.

FLEXIBILITY

Organisations haven’t thought much about what kind of flexibility older workers need, Prof Kulik says.

It’s not start times or which days they work. It’s opportunities to take extended leaves of absence if they have to for health reasons or alternatively to travel, while maintaining their job security.

SOME INDUSTRIES NEED TO ACT NOW

Professionals and managers tend to have more flexibility and autonomy, Prof Kulik says.

It’s not as clear what will happen for people with physically demanding jobs such as construction workers, miners and plumbers if flexibility isn’t offered, she says.

“Either we’re going to have to retrain them and do some kind of major career shift that works better or we’re going to have to be a lot more flexible about thinking about how work can be designed.”

Source:9news.com.au