Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ontario Unveils Plan To Help Retain Older Nurses

The McGuinty government in Ontario is creating a program to help keep experienced nurses on the job longer. Specifically, it is planning to use $25 million to support late-career nurses working in hospitals by giving nurses over the age of 55 the opportunity to stay on in their profession in less physically demanding roles, such as working as mentors, patient and family educators or staff advisors on clinical issues.

Source: News Release Office of the Premier of Ontario (July 25, 2005)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Canada: Older Workers With High Job Stress More Likely To Retire Earlier

According to an article by Yosie Saint-Cyr in HRinfodesk, a recent study--"Job strain and retirement" by Martin Turcotte and Grant Schellenberg, published in the July 2005 Issue of Perspectives on Labour and Income by Statistics Canada indicates that job strain, caused by a combination of a heavy workload, time constraints, conflicting demands and lack of control, may be an overlooked factor in an employee’s decision to retire. Several other studies have already documented this negative relationship. "This study found that many workers who felt stressed and dissatisfied with their job felt they could not retire soon enough, while others delayed retirement for the simple reason that they enjoyed their work (because they were able to balance demands with the power to make decisions)." The National Population Health Survey examined whether older workers (aged 45 to 57 in 1994) who experience high job strain will be more likely to retire than those who do not feel the same pressure at work. The study found that, between 1996 and 2002, older workers in managerial, professional or technical jobs with high job strain were much more likely to retire early than those with low job strain. However, for sales, services, clerical and blue-collar occupations, job strain was not related to retirement.

Source: "Link Between Job Strain and Retirement" HRinfodesk
(July 2005)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Workforce Needs Education About Aging and Disability

Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), issued a statement following her participation in the Disability and Aging Mini-Conference of the 2005 White House Conference on Aging, that "a majority of workers underestimate the risk of becoming disabled and believe they are covered by disability insurance. In reality, only a third of workers are covered and workers compensation provides inadequate protection for individuals suffering from 90 percent of disabilities.”

Source: News Release America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) (July 21, 2005)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Creating a Market for Senior Experts

Reporting in the International Herald Tribune, Thomas Fuller writes about Sebastian Vallbracht, who founded VMVO Senior Expert Consultancy and is in the business of scouring Europe for candidates for scientific and financial consulting jobs--with the proviso that these peopel be at least in their 40s, preferably in their 50s or 60s. The average age of the 90 experts he has engaged is about 55--and this, "[o]n a continent where early retirement has long been regarded as a way to free up jobs for younger generations." Fuller also writes about Michel Delannoy, the founder of a federation of organizations in France that seek to promote senior employment, who he quotes as saying that when older workers leave the labor market prematurely, it is a "loss in terms of productivity for the nation."

Source: The Workplace: When gray is better than green International Herald Tribune (July 6, 2005)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Aging U.S. Workforce Creates Challenges to Corporate Health and Productivity

New research conducted by UnumProvident Corporation, a provider of group and individual disability income, focuses on the aging American workforce, particularly on the potential health and productivity predicaments that demand a response from employers, medical providers and the workers themselves. According to the findings reported in "Health & Productivity in the Aging American Work Force: Realities and Opportunities,"
  • Although workers age 40 and older experience a lower incidence of work injuries, short term disability and unscheduled absences than younger workers, the average amount of time they will miss due to an injury or illness is greater by nearly a third.
  • Workers older than age 40 account for 50 percent of all short-term disability claims and up to 75 percent of long-term disability claims.
  • Primary reasons for long term work disruptions for this age group include impairments of the musculoskeletal and circulatory systems as well as mental and cancer disorders.
  • The additional presence of risk factors such as smoking, lack of exercise and obesity can result in healthcare costs for this population that are nearly 300 percent higher than the younger workforce.
The report notes that companies that develop programs to support and promote preventive health care among their baby boomer employees will encourage behavior that can counter these trends. By putting programs in place that provide incentives for workers to have healthier lifestyles, lost time and health care costs can be reduced. It provides a case study from Coors Brewing Company to model such corporate response.

Source: News Release UnumProvident (July 7, 2005)

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Commentary: The Sun Sets On the Golden Years

Writing in The Nation, William Greider writes that many millions of baby boomers are realizizing as they approach retirement age that they can't afford to retire at all, much less retire early. Focusing on savings need to ensure a solid retirement, Greider says that "[t]he fundamental truth (well understood among experts) is that individualized accounts can never match the investment returns of a large common fund, broadly diversified and soundly managed, because the pension fund is able to average its results over a very long time span, thirty years or more." Suggesting that a "mandatory savings" solution might be required, he writes:
While most politicians don't dare embrace a "mandatory" solution--not yet, anyway--it is not self-evident that ordinary Americans would reject one, if properly educated about the alternatives. Most people are conflicted. They know they need to save more--retirement is a very meaningful investment for them--but it's very hard to accomplish, given the competing pressures. They like the concept of personal accounts but are also aware of their vulnerability as amateur investors.
For discussion of this article, see comments posted on AlterNet.

Source: " Riding Into the Sunset" The Nation (June 27, 2005)

Indiana Researcher Discusses Aging Workers

Barry Spiker, senior fellow with
University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community, is interviewed about his work studying how older workers are perceived in the workplace and what it means for local and national economies. He surveys Indiana as a whole, as well as specific industries that soon will be affected by baby boomer retirements. Spiker's recommendations for capturing the intellectual and emotional capital of the work force:
  • If you know someone is going to retire in six months, make sure he has phased retirement that he comes back in two or three days a week.
  • Morbidity increases when people leave the workplace. It's better for the health care industry by keeping people working. Get someone to mentor a junior worker to pass on knowledge, but also his networks -- which he knows.
  • The emotional capital is a great way for younger workers to learn from older workers. It's being steady and calm. It's maturity and that's not something that can be taught, but learned by watching.
  • You take someone who is retiring and say, "We'll give you a bounty for all your knowledge."
Source: "Research helps reshape work force" Indianapolis Star online (June 27, 2005)

Taking Care of Parents Causes South Florida Employers To Lose Money and Productivity

According to A Good Daughter, Inc., which developed and markets a Corporate Elder Care program, 17% of caregivers quit their jobs to provide care for aging family members, and another 15% reduce their work hours to assist their loved ones. All told, loss of productivity resulting from time off to care for an aging relative is estimated to cost South Florida employers $6100 per employee per year. According to Olga Brunner, President, "Our Corporate Elder Care program was developed to help employees balance job responsibilities and caregiving. Our Professional Care Managers plan and organize care and services for the employees of Broward and Palm Beach elderly population, affording families a peace of mind that their loved ones will find and secure services such as ongoing supervision of certified home care assistants, home maintenance and care, medication supervision, coordination of medical appointments and representation at these appointments, legal counsel, specialized air travel escorts, and many other services."

Source: News Release A Good Daughter, Inc. (June 20, 2005)