Saturday, June 18, 2005

Business community makes recommendations for White Conference on Aging

At the "Voice of Business on the Mature Workforce"--a run-up miniconference for this year's White House Conference on the Aging--sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, SHRM, and AARP, among others, business representatives voted to present four recommendations to be presented at the December conference to redesign public policies to accommodate a maturing workforce and retirees. As reported by UPI, speakers at the forum discussed the challenges facing the United States as older workers become the fastest-growing segment of the workforce. The four recommendations that will be sent to the White House are:
  • allowing greater flexibility in retirement plan design and management;
  • removing unnecessary rules and regulations in the private pension system;
  • developing phased retirement programs, and
  • creating a bipartisan commission to address the issue of mature workers.
Source: "Chamber of Commerce weighs in on retirement" Monsters and Critics.com (June 17, 2005)

Friday, June 17, 2005

HR can help businesses plan for maturing workforce

Speaking at “Voice of Business on the Mature Workforce,” a forum which was aimed at adding the business community’s perspective to the White House Conference on Aging, Susan R. Meisinger, SPHR, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), one of the sponsors of the forum, told her audience that HR professionals can take steps to help their organizations plan strategically for the maturing workforce and its economic impact by:
  • Conducting studies to determine the projected demographic makeup of their organization’s workforce and projected retirement rates. People are concerned about doing anything that could be construed as discriminatory, she said, but “it’s OK to look at an employee’s age for workforce planning.”
  • Developing succession plans and replacement charts. “The pool to draw from is smaller. … How are you mentoring?” she asked.
  • Developing processes to capture institutional knowledge. It can be difficult to focus years ahead when an organization’s immediate concern is how it is doing now, she acknowledged. Developing methods to capture institutional knowledge is probably the best tool HR can use to galvanize people and make executive managers aware of the need to plan for the organization’s future, she said.
  • Creating or redesigning positions that allow near-retirees to ease into retirement. This requires stepping back and looking beyond job titles and duties and focusing on what needs to be accomplished.
HR professionals also may develop and shape workforce training and development programs.

Source: "Meisinger: HR can help stem boomer brain drain" SHRM Online (June 16, 2005)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Leave Sharing as Benefit for Older Public Workers

According to an article by Kathleen Murphy for Stateline, leave-sharing "is a job benefit states are offering more often than the private sector with an eye toward retaining an aging state workforce"--"especially the 44% of state employees age 45 and older who otherwise might look toward retirement." Eighteen states currently have have collective leave banks, while 22 states allow direct donation of leave to individual employees, including 2 states that offer both. It can be a win-win situation for states and their employees: "When catastrophic illness strikes, leave-sharing helps older and ailing employees keep their jobs and helps prevent them from spending down their savings to qualify for Medicaid, the pricey state-run program that gives medical benefits to indigent and low-income people."

Source: Leave-sharing helps retain state workers" Stateline.org (June 11, 2005)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Majority of Workers Expect (and Want) To Work Longer

Following up on research conducted by AgeWave finding that 80% of workers surveyed in 10 countries "believe mandatory retirement should be abolished and a majority expect to continue working after they have "retired" from their prime-time careers," Janet Kidd Stewart writes that it appears a majority of workers now expect--even want--to work later into their old age:
{T]here is some anecdotal evidence that at least some older workers are already staying on the payroll longer. One of the most pressing problems for the Service Corps of Retired Workers, a service that uses volunteer retirees to help train entrepreneurs, is finding experienced volunteers who have left the workforce, said Jim Pyles, the group's chairman.
However, she also notes that aging "doesn't always work out the way we want." For example, "we may think we want to continue working, but a health issue of our own or of a spouse can quickly curtail those expectations. Or a corporate downsizing or merger may thrust us out into the workforce at an age when we are overlooked by potential employers."

Source: "Later, later, many now say to early retirement" Chicago Tribune (June 5, 2008)

Canada: Ontario Introduces Legislation To End Mandatory Retirement

Ontario Labour Minister Chris Bentley announced that the McGuinty government was introducing legislation that would end mandatory retirement and provide greater fairness and choice for workers aged 65 and older. The legislation proposes to amend the Ontario Human Rights Code, which currently does not protect people aged 65 and over from age discrimination for employment purposes, to only permit mandatory retirement where it can be justified on "bona fide occupational requirement" grounds determined under the Code (that is, where there is a requirement or qualification necessary for the performance of essential job duties).

Source: News Release Canada NewsWire Group (June 7, 2005)

United Kingdom: Acas launches guide to recruiting older workers

Acas, the government-funded Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service, has launched a new advisory leaflet to help employers make the most of older workers. It looks at some of the stereotypes about older workers and gives practical advice on what to consider when recruiting, planning for the future and managing older employees. According to Acas Chief Executive John Taylor, "The working population is getting older and employers may face skills shortages when existing workers retire if they fail to ensure they don't discriminate against older workers when recruiting." Furthermore, "[o]ur advice is easy to understand and practical. We aim to be the first port of call for employers who need advice on these sorts of issues. This booklet gives employers useful and straightforward information on what they need to consider to help them recruit and retain older workers." The booklet, Employing Older Workers, is available online.

Source: News Release Acas (June 6, 2005)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Consultant poll shows weak employer support for phased-in retirement

Morneau Sobeco, a human resources consulting company, reports that a "60 Second Survey" conducted in May indicates that employers are less than enthusiastic about the concept of phased-in retirement over the next 5 years. "Only 12% of respondents were prepared to encourage phased-in retirement in the case of non-union employees who are within 5 years of retirement. Another 51% said they were willing to consider it but only if the employee requested it." Asked about what they saw as the biggest hurdle to implementing a phased-in retirement program, "60% of respondents indicated it was because most jobs are full-time in nature and not easily reduced to a part-time status. Another 25% cited the challenge it would involve in re-designing pension and benefit plans. Only 6% felt the main stumbling block is that it would encourage employees to stay too long."

Source: News Release Morneau Sobeco (May 13, 2005)