Posts Tagged “jobs for over 50’s”

Government’s controversial JobMaker legislation passes, putting older workers at risk.

The Morrison government’s controversial JobMaker legislation has passed the Senate without the amendments designed to add protection for older workers after One Nation backflipped on its decision to block the unamended scheme.

On Tuesday we reported that independent senators Rex Patrick and Pauline Hanson had announced that they wouldn’t support the bill, which opened the door for Labor and the Greens to pass amendments that added in protection for older workers.

The JobMaker hiring credit scheme, which was announced in last month’s Budget, aims to provide employees with a financial incentive to hire younger workers, but experts are concerned that it will lead to businesses firing more mature and experienced staff in a bid to reduce expenses.

The program gives employers $200 a week for employing a jobless person under 30 and $100 for hiring those aged 30 to 35.

The Greens also proposed amendments that would ban companies that have underpaid their staff accessing the scheme and prevent companies sacking staff and claiming the credit.

The amendments were rejected in the House of Representatives and sent back to the Senate, where One Nation supported the legislation passing without amendment.

Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi accused One Nation of throwing older workers under a bus by passing the legislation without the protection amendments.

“There is nothing in this bill stopping employers from firing their staff or from reducing their hours,” Ms Faruqi said.

“Not only can they fire their staff and reduce their hours but those workers have no avenue to complain or to have a dispute resolution process. That’s what One Nation are voting for.

“They are throwing all workers – young, old or otherwise – under the bus.

“I hope that they will face the consequences of this decision. But, unfortunately, it will be too late for the workers that they have thrown under the bus.”

One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts told Parliament the party had changed its mind on the legislation after being presented with new data on unemployment rates between younger and older generations.

“When we get new data, we have the courage and the integrity to change our mind,” Mr Roberts said.

“The second figure is that the Australian unemployment rate for people older than 35 is 4 per cent. I know damn well that people around Australia who are over 35 years of age will recognise those figures, because they care about younger people, not just themselves.”

Labor senator Katy Gallagher questioned the government’s motivation for not wanting to add protections to its JobMaker hiring credits scheme.

“The fact that the government has refused to accept the amendments and is asking the Senate to not insist on them without an explanation really begs the question: why is the government opposed to amendments that stop employers from being able to sack existing workers?” Ms Gallagher asked.

“There was no engagement, no explanation, no justification for why relatively minor but important amendments could not be agreed to.

“This hiring credit scheme may do some good for young workers, and that is why we have supported the scheme, albeit with concerns. Those concerns go to issues like job security, the fact that the scheme is pretty modest and the fact that government has no answer for what it will do for unemployed workers over the age of 35.”

Do you support the JobMaker hiring credits scheme for younger workers? Do you think there should be protections to ensure older workers are not sacked to hire younger workers at a cheaper rate?

 

Source: Yourlifechoices.com.au

Will Brodie Journalist

Youth employment subsidy may cause significant collateral damage.

People waiting for job interview in office

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.

Have you experienced ageism in the workforce? Do you think JobMaker will disadvantage older workers?

 

Source:Yourlifechoices.com.au

Gold Coast resident Liz Clifford stands outside her garage.
PHOTO

Liz Clifford is selling her house because she cannot keep up with the repayments.

In the space of five years, Liz Clifford has lost her husband to cancer, her office job and now her home.

At the age of 60 she finds herself struggling to get by on Newstart unemployment benefits.

“Very disappointed with life,” she told 7.30.

“It wasn’t his fault that he got sick and died, but after losing my job I don’t have the income now to support living here — rates to pay and bills to pay.

“I don’t like to say it’s destroyed my life, but it’s certainly torn it apart.”

Ms Clifford is part of a worrying trend. The number of people aged 55-64 on Newstart has risen by more than 55,000 in less than five years.

“It’s been very difficult. It makes you feel quite worthless actually, like you’ve got no purpose in life,” she said.

“I feel a little bit insulted and I feel like I’ve been punished for being unemployed.”

She lives on about $50 a day and has been forced to sell her and her late husband’s dream home because she can no longer keep up with repayments.

‘I’ve got a lot to offer’

A Centrelink sign

PHOTO Liz Clifford says she uses her fortnightly Centrelink payment to pay off her credit card.

Newstart has not increased in real terms for more than two decades, and the Federal Government is resisting calls to lift the payment.

“Electricity’s not cheap, water rates and house rates aren’t cheap,” Ms Clifford said.

“I get my Centrelink payment every fortnight and that just goes straight onto my credit card.

“Because I’ve used the redraw facility on [the mortgage], it’s gone up but I’ve tried to be very careful with that.”

Ms Clifford currently works part-time at a Gold Coast boarding kennel but is planning a move to Ipswich to find a cheaper home and full-time office work.

“I think people probably want someone who’s 35, 40 or something like that or maybe even younger.

“I know I’ve got a lot to offer, I’ve got a lot of skills and I’ve worked for a long time and I’m quite computer literate, but I think people just think, ‘She’ll be wanting to retire in a couple of years’ time, so it’s not worth taking her on’.”

More programs needed for mature age workers

Flinders University's Professor John Spoehr is a labour market analyst.

PHOTO Professor John Spoehr says older jobseekers face discrimination and other challenges.

Labour market analyst Professor John Spoehr said the sharp rise in the number of over-55s on Newstart was due to a downturn in traditional industries and a crackdown on eligibility for disability support payments.

“Despite the Australian unemployment rate being relatively low, that masks some other problems in the labour market,” he told 7.30.

“In particular, the difficult circumstances that mature-age workers face, particularly because of the decline in mining and manufacturing.

“People who were skilled in those sectors had to find jobs in very, very different areas of the labour market, predominantly in the services sector where they weren’t well skilled.”

Professor Spoehr said a poor education was hurting some workers in the modern employment landscape.

“Typically, mature-age workers, baby boomers in particular, often require more support than a lot of other workers in the labour market that are struggling,” he said.

“I think there’s a need for an expansion of mature-age employment programs in Australia to support mature age workers through these difficult transitions.”

Living on $40 a day

Phillip Cacciola stands in front of an army jeep.

PHOTO Adelaide resident and Newstart recipient Phillip Cacciola volunteers at a military museum.

Phillip Cacciola, 61, has a lifetime of experience on the factory floor.

“My first job [was] cabinet maker, then I got a job at Holden, biscuit factory, steel fabrication,” he told 7.30.

“Then I got a job at Copperpot pate and dip factory. I was there for 10 years.”

He is now unemployed and believes his reading and writing skills and age are stopping him from finding work.

“Everything is on the computer,” he said.

“When you put a job application in you’ve got to put it in the computer. I can’t do that. Simple as that, I just can’t do that.

“If they put me on a forklift and show me what to do I’d probably pick it up after a while. You’ve got to go through the paperwork and safety and stuff.

“I know the safety stuff but you still got to write it down, that’s my biggest problem.”

Mr Cacciola said he had personally sought out courses to improve his reading and writing skills but wanted the Government to help more in this area as well as increase the Newstart payment.

He lives on about $40 a day.

“Sometimes I get cranky when I hear things about the politicians,” he said.

“They’ve got no problems paying the electric bills, they’ve got no problems paying anything.

“If they want to buy something they can get money out of the bank and buy it. I can’t do that.”

Source:ABC

Older adults offer leadership and experience, yet are often overlooked in the hiring process with HR instead focusing on millennials. That’s according to Ben Eatwell, CMO at Weploy.

Eatwell added that this is often out of a desire to “nurture the next generation of talent”, but also the satisfaction out of having a major impact on these younger minds.

“That’s quite a long way from retirement! We know diversity positively impacts innovation, culture and profits, but often age diversity has less focus.”

Eatwell said there are many advantages to employing older adults, particularly in positions where experience and leadership are needed. However, this doesn’t seem to be translating into more opportunities for older Australians.

“I think this has to do with trying to fit workers into traditional organisational structures – by exploring more agile, networked and outcome-oriented structures it can not only improve diversity but also productivity.”

Eatwell offers a few tips for HR professionals who want to boost the number of older Australians amongst their staff.

The starting point should always be a “thorough assessment of the recruitment process” to identify and mitigate where age discrimination could arise.

“One of the key traits we assess is learning agility – in a nutshell, the ability to pick new ideas up quickly,” he said.

“Research suggests that although you can make small improvements to your learning agility, it is more or less fixed and is not dependent on age.”

Consequently, choosing candidates based on learning agility can help add some objectivity to the hiring process.

From there it’s about developing a culture of lifelong learning. Mature employees have a huge amount of experience to share which can be “leveraged to increase overall productivity and morale”.

“Also I’ve seen reverse mentoring work very well, reducing knowledge gaps with both younger and more mature workers, as well as improving organisational culture.”

So what is lost by having nobody senior around?

“Often it’s the times of crisis when calm is needed, or when team morale is affected by a failed project, that age diverse workforces show critical value,” said Eatwell.

“We do a lot of ‘learning by doing’ and that includes what to do when things do not go according to plan.”

Eatwell added that leadership is a quality that is not tied to age, but the “reassurance of someone who has seen a crisis and worked through it to tell the tale” can be invaluable in making sure the right work gets done in these high-pressure moments.

Sometimes, the only senior person on a project is the boss, and employees are reluctant to confess an error that can lead to disaster if unaddressed, he added.

“Having a senior member of the workforce who can act as that neutral-confidant, and know what to do with the information, has considerable value.”

Employees from diverse ages have different experiences, perceptions and approaches when it comes to things like problem-solving, decision making and task handling, he said.

“They can also use various strategies – starting from the way they think, plan and execute tasks, which can influence operations in a more subtle, but still valuable way.”

Source:hcamag.com

Workers and job seekers aged over 45 will be eligible for training programs to ensure they have the skills necessary to stay in the labour market for as long as they want instead of winding up on the unemployment scrapheap.

As part of the government’s baby boomers package, it will allocate $189.7 million over five years to assist mature-age workers adapt to the changing needs of the economy.

The bulk of the funding, $136.4 million over four years beginning in financial year 2019, will be available as targeted training for registered jobseekers to develop digital skills, enhance their employability and to identify job opportunities in local labour markets.

A Skills and Training Incentive, costing $19.3 million over three years, will provide as much as $2000 for workers aged 45 – 70 at risk of being made redundant through technological or economic change to undertake reskilling or upskilling. The worker or employer will have to match the funding.

A separate $15.2 million program – the Job Change Initiative – will be set up to outline career options for mature-age workers who are considering early retirement or facing redundancy.

The government will expand its Entrepreneurship Facilitators program, which promotes self-employment, to 20 additional locations at a cost of $17.7 million.

Recruiting and retraining

Incentives to hire a worker aged over 50 will be increased modestly by $1.1 million to provide additional wage subsidies for employers worth up to $10,000.

As part of the effort to keep Australians employed longer, workers will be able to undertake an online skills checkpoint when aged between 45 and 65 to provide advice to building their careers or transitioning to new industries.

As well as looking at workers’ employment history and qualifications, the checkpoint will look at their involvement in the community, such as volunteering, to see whether those skills would translate to a new career path.

By targeting workers aged in their late 40s, the hope is they will receive assistance to prolong their careers before running the risk of retrenchment, seniors advocates argue.

The government has flagged a need to drive cultural change and stop discrimination against older workers, promising to develop strategies in conjunction with business and seniors lobby groups.

“The government understands the importance of working with employers to ensure they understand the benefits of recruiting and retaining mature age people,” Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash said.

“We also need to support Australians most affected by our transitioning economy by providing opportunities for them to acquire the skills that will equip them for future opportunities and jobs.”

Source: www.afr.com.au

UPDATE: Liberal frontbenchers Simon Birmingham and Christopher Pyne have backed the process that delivered politicians a minimum $4000 pay rise from next week, with Senator Birmingham insisting their salaries were kept “well and truly in check”.

Australian politicians have been handed a two per cent pay rise from next Saturday on top of their current $199,040 base salary.

On top of that, they will get a tax cut as the 2 per cent budget repair levy is also due to be removed on July 1.

In justifying the decision the tribunal said it had received submissions calling for salaries more in line with the private sector.

“Over the past year there has been a notable increase in submissions to the Tribunal seeking higher remuneration for offices and individual office holders based at least in part on private sector remuneration,” the statement said.

Mr Pyne said politicians have nothing to do with determining salaries and they’re not in it for the money.

“We do it because it is a wonderful way of helping the society in which we live,” he told the Nine Network

Senator Birmingham said the pay rise came after the minimum wage was bumped up.

“It is an independent process and it was a two per cent pay rise this year, after a pay-freeze that the independent process determined last year. And of course just recently, the minimum pay rise for minimum wage was handed down at 3.3 per cent,” he told Channel Seven.

While he acknowledged parliamentarians were well remunerated Senator Birmingham said they were not there for the money.

“I think you can see the processes working to keep politicians’ salaries well and truly in check, there was a freeze, there’s a lower than the minimum wage as people would think it should be,” Senator Birmingham said.

PM gets payrise

Federal politicians, judges and top public servants will enjoy pay rises of up to $12,000 a year from next week, pushing backbench MPs’ base pay above $200,000 for the first time.

At a time of record low wage growth and rising government debt, the Remuneration Tribunal awarded a 2 per cent pay rise to all senior public office holders yesterday, following another 2 per cent pay rise in January last year.

The latest rise was necessary “to attract and retain” people of “calibre”, the tribunal said, pointing out that minimum wage workers would receive a 3.3 per cent pay rise ($22.20 a week) from next month and public sector wages had increased 2.4 per cent over the year to March.

The boost means backbenchers’ pay, excluding allowances, will rise by just under $4000 to $203,020.

The Prime Minister will get a $10,350 pay rise to $527,854; the High Court chief justice’s base pay will rise $11,461 to $584,511.

“There has been a notable ­increase in submissions to the tribunal seeking higher remun­eration for offices and individual office holders based at least in part on private sector remuneration,” the tribunal said.

It suggested the era of “economic restraint” that saw pay rise deferrals in 2014 and 2015 was over.

 

Falling private sector wage growth, which earlier this week prompted Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe to invite workers to ask for a rise, rose 1.9 per cent over the year to March.

The Human Rights Commission president’s pay will rise to $423,650.

Some MPs questioned the pay rise last night. Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm said: “I think we are already very well paid and don’t need a pay increase at the moment. Given the state of the budget in particular, it’s ill-timed.”

Greens leader Richard Di ­Natale said “people have had a gutful”. “At a time when income inequality is out of control and wages are going nowhere, politicians get a pay rise,” he said.

Cabinet ministers, currently paid a base salary of $343,344, will get nearly $7000 extra and will now be paid $350,210 a year.

Heads of the 18 government ­departments in Canberra, who earn up to $861,700 a year, will enjoy pay rises of between $9500 and $12,063, the latter going to the secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The tribunal said public office holders were making financial sacrifices. “Office holders serve for the public good (and) many of these office holders do not expect or require that monetary compensation be set at private sector levels,” the tribunal said.

The pay increase will occur as the government’s 2 per cent budget repair levy on top-rate taxpayers end.

“This represents an increase of 1.6 per cent per annum over the 18 months since the last general increase” effective from January 2016, the statement said, noting increases were not granted in 2014 and 2015.

MPs also receive a non-taxable $276 allowance for every night of the 18 weeks a year they are in Canberra.

“This decision is a slap in the face for the thousands of commonwealth public sector workers whose wages have been frozen for well over three years as they’ve been stuck fighting for their basic workplace rights and conditions,” said Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood.

The 170,000 federal public servants have not had a general pay rise since the Coalition was elected in 2013 and have been locked in a battle over renewal of enterprise agreements.

Staff at the Defence Department on Wednesday became the second major department to agree to an enterprise deal which will bring a 6 per cent increase over the next 18 months.

Staff at the Australian Taxation Office and at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet are voting on the pay deal today.

“This decision will certainly give frontline public sector workers the impression that there’s one set of rules for them and quite another for those at the top,’’ Ms Flood said.

Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd said Ms Flood’s comments were “misleading”.

“The main reason for the delay in employees receiving a pay increase is the CPSU’s persistent campaign opposing salary increases that have been on offer for 3 years for most of the employees. The increases offered have been for an average 2% a year over a 3 year term,” he told The Australian.

“The generous pay and conditions of public servants are not under threat.”

Source: The Australian

72 per cent Aussie grandparents couldn’t imagine life without the internet.

Australian grandparents are now swapping their ‘knitting’ for ‘internetting’, with the explosion of smart devices and increased access to fast broadband taking over all aspects of their lives.

According to a new research report commissioned by nbn, the majority of tech-savvy grandparents, or ‘GranTechies’, now couldn’t imagine their life without the internet.

In fact, more than 90 per cent now admit to jumping online every day.

The key findings of the nbn™ GranTechies Report reveal that Aussie grandparents are now using access to fast broadband for tasks including staying in touch with family and friends via email and Skype, online shopping and downloading or streaming video content.

The report also found that grandparents believe themselves to be as tech-savvy as their children and grandchildren, with 59 per cent saying that they are just as internet-smart as their younger counterparts.

Perhaps more importantly, the nbn™ GranTechies Report discovered that using the internet makes Australian seniors feel more educated and purposeful, as well as feeling more connected and less lonely.

This demographic believe it’s important that they upskill and stay up-to-date with tech trends, with more than half saying that they are eager to learn more through online tutorials and with the help of family and friends.

When it comes to online communication, it is Millennial men who are leading the charge when it comes to staying in touch with the older generation via social media.

Forty four per cent in this demographic say they connect with their grandparents using outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

According to Nan Bosler, President of the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association, “Gone are the days where we thought of grandparents as tech dinosaurs – this research shows senior Australians are well and truly riding the tech wave”.

Based on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Nan helps other seniors to learn to use the internet, welcoming anyone over the age of 55 but working mainly with people in their late 70s and right up to their 90s.

“The most popular activity is keeping in touch with family and friends,” explains Nan.

“However, seniors also use the internet like everybody else… for shopping, researching family history, taking online courses and buying airline tickets. I even have lots of students who are addicted to YouTube!”

Nan herself has been using computers for many years, initially making the most of technology to upload and publish local history books.

“When the internet arrived it was a new vehicle to upload information about local and Australian history. It was too good to miss because it brings the whole world to your fingertips,” she explains.

Disagreeing with the idea that seniors find it hard to learn new things, Nan explains, “When you’re trying something new you’re going to be hesitant and worried about making a fool of yourself.

Seniors need to learn from their peers and at their own pace but once we gain confidence we are off and running.”

Nan also uses the internet to stay mentally active, having enrolled in an online university course. “You don’t have to travel; you can just enrol and get started”.

While seniors do have to be aware of the dangers of using the internet, Nan would like to see more of her age group using it confidently.

“It’s fabulous for keeping up with the grandkids. Although some of them need to remember to mind their p’s and q’s once Grandma is on social media!” she says.

Nan has been pleased to see that with widespread access to fast broadband via the nbn™ network, the ‘GranTechie’ demographic has been able to move beyond using the internet to simply keep in touch with family and friends and has progressed to becoming a community of more advanced online users that is able to show the younger folk a thing or two.

If your grandparents are eagre to get into the tech game, but aren’t sure how, here are some tips of helping them get started.

 

 

 


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.

Just as companies have shifted on the area of gender and race diversity in the workplace, they now need to change their mindset to encourage older workers to remain employed.
Australian companies need to adopt aged worker-friendly policies in order to survive and attract the best talent.

PwC’s The Golden Age Index report found businesses should look to adopt flexible working policies, such as “phased retirement”, or expanding training programs to encourage and support their older workforce.

“They should also take steps to achieve age diversity, for example through opening up apprenticeship schemes to older workers so that they can capitalise on their experience,” the report said.

PwC people and organisation partner Jon Williams said Australian companies had made gains on improving diversity in the workplace but needed a mindset change to implement policies to attract and retain older staff.

“Companies need to change workplace policies to allow people to work much more flexibly and they need to change culture,” Mr Williams said.

“We’ve moved on the diversity lens now we need to extend that to age.”

He said when blue collar jobs were automated the whole job was lost, but when it came to white collar roles only parts would be replaced.

“In the long term we’re going to need human skills, not computer skills, intuition and application of experience to solve social problems and that fits well into the older workforce’s skills, and unless we tap into these people we’re going to undercut our ability as a country.”

Mr Williams said there was no reason why older workers couldn’t be taught science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills but also the next wave of jobs in aged care would value older workers with life experience skills.

Companies such as electricity operator Transgrid are implementing plans to encourage older workers to remain employed.

The company undertakes strategic workforce planning each year to enable analysis of risks and fill gaps over the next five to 10 years.

It found a number of years ago there was an “age-cliff” as many engineers planned for retirement.

In response, the organisation brought on quite a number of graduates over a few years in preparation for transferring mid-career engineers into senior engineering roles.

Staff are also given other benefits including flexible work arrangements to phased retirement such as a condensed four-day week, a nine-day fortnight, 35-hour week, 15 per cent superannuation and personal leave of 18 days a year.

At Australia Post, 50 per cent of the workforce is over 45 years of age.

In 2010 the company introduced a policy whereby those over 53 years of age and with at least five years’ continuous service have been able to request flexible working arrangements in order to transition to retirement.

Employees may access their accrued long service leave or annual leave on a regular or patterned basis to maintain their salary.

With five generations in the workforce for the first time in its history, Westpac provides employees aged over 50 a “Prime of Life” program where they are given support to plan their next move, including transition to retirement.

Source: Australian Financial Review

9:06 am 15 June 2016

Max Towle, Employment Reporter – @maxbentleytowle

New Zealand has been ranked near the top of an international report judging how well it treats the growing number of people over-65 who are still working.

New Zealand is “harnessing the economic power” of older workers, said the report.New Zealand is “harnessing the economic power” of older workers, said the report.

A report by the financial company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) shows nearly 40 percent of New Zealanders are working until they are 70 and that number is rising.

Its report, ranking 34 OECD countries, puts New Zealand in second place in how it treats older workers, only behind Iceland.

In its own words, the country is “harnessing the economic power” of older workers.

As well as more over-65’s working, PwC said New Zealand had a great record for allowing them flexible conditions, and a relatively low gender pay gap.

It was also about their skills being better appreciated, said a partner for the company, Scott Mitchell.

“They are as useful, if not more, especially when they can be in a flexible working environment,” he said.

“Just because you become an aged worker, the mere fact you’ve got someone who’s been there and done that and has maturity – they can be fantastic coaches.”

The government’s statistics show of all over-65’s, one in five is working – that is expected to rise to one in three in 20 year’s time.

There are several reasons why older people keep working, said a co-director of the Retirement Policy and Research Centre at Auckland University, Susan St John.

“Among them of course is the problem of outliving savings and needing to provide extra because there’s a greater awareness that New Zealand’s Super scheme, while generous, isn’t enough for many people,” she said.

People should be judged on what they are able to do, rather than a ticking clock, said former All Blacks doctor and current chief medical officer for Sovereign, John Mayhew.

“There’s no evidence that work is bad for us, it may be better in fact. As long as someone is physically and mentally able to do the job they want to do and they enjoy it then carry on,” he said.

“For most of us there’s no magical cut-off at 65, I think we should push the retirement age up.”

PwC’s report also calls for the government to look at the retirement age, but Ms St John said just because more older people are working, it did not mean it should go up.

“That is a real can of worms because many people are not capable of staying in the workforce and raising the age puts them on a work benefit, for example,” she said.

The government has consistently batted away calls to lift the age, saying 65 is affordable.

Ms St John said it was worth noting statistics do not take into account older people who spend much of their time in unpaid caregiving roles – that could mean simply looking after grandchildren.

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