Tuesday, January 26, 2010

United Kingdom: Equality and Human Rights Commission Launches New Program for Older Workers

Accompanied by research report and policy brief, the United Kingdom's Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has released its "Working Better - The over 50s, the new work generation " to open up more work opportunities for older Britons and address the challenges of an aging workforce. In so doing, EHRC has made a series proposals for fundamental changes to employment policies, including "abolishing the default retirement age, the extension of the right to request flexible working to all, overhauling employer recruitment practices to prevent discrimination and improved training and development."

EHRC's research report--"Older workers: employment preferences, barriers and solutions"--was authored by Deborah Smeaton, Sandra Vegeris and Melahat Sahin-Dikmen and finds, among other things, that of workers aged 50-75:
  • 24% of men and 64% per cent of women say they plan to keep working beyond the state pension age;
  • 55% cent say they are unhappy with some aspect of their working lives;
  • half say the availability of part-time or flexible work would help them;
  • 38% of men and 46% of women are not aware of the right to request flexible working available to adult carers; and
  • 60% say they are as physically capable now to perform their jobs as when younger.
EHRC's policy briefing--"Working Better: The over 50s, the new work generation." draws on the new research and contains findings, recommendations and practical solutions for government and employers, and also features case studies from both employees and employers. In presenting its recommended solutions, EHRC states:
Tackling barriers to the employment of older people requires taking action on a number of fronts: the quality and flexibility of jobs; occupational health; retirement and pension policies; and attitudes and assumptions about the older generation. This will mean collaboration between government, employers, trade unions, occupational health experts and others.
Source: Equality and Human Rights Commission Media Release (January 25, 2010)

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