Monday, October 03, 2011

Australia: Seniors Group Calls for Scrapping Age Limits on Employer Superannuation Contributions

At the Tax Forum in Canberra, National Seniors is calling on the government to scrap age limits on the superannuation guarantee at this week’s Tax Forum in Canberra. According to National Seniors chairman and economist Professor Judith Sloan, superannuation age limits are inconsistent with espoused labour market trends: "We’re getting mixed messages," she said. "On the issue of super guarantee age limits, it’s time for Government to put their money where their mouth is."

Their submission to the Tax Forum also calls for providing appropriate support for mature workers:
Creating a level playing field for mature age workers and indeed recognising the extensive skills and experience of many older Australians must remain an economic imperative. There are both economic and fiscal imperatives for improving the participation rate and employment of older people. Participation in the workforce is associated with positive life outcomes such as financial independence, a sense of identity and social opportunities, as well as contributing to healthy ageing.

The average duration of unemployment for a person aged 55 and over is much longer than that for younger people. As of July 2011, the average period of unemployment for those aged 55 and over was 63 weeks. This compares with only 33 weeks for those aged 15-54. That represents more than a year of lost productivity for the economy and a prolonged period of financial hardship for the individual, at a time of life when people are usually best placed to increase their retirement savings. This hardship is compounded by changes to indexation arrangements in recent years, which mean that a single person under 60 on Newstart Allowance receives only 65 per cent of the amount an age pensioner receives.

The Consultative Forum on Mature Age Participation is expected to put forward a range of proposals to redress barriers to employment in 2012. In the interim, National Seniors’ key priority is to increase the Newstart Allowance for the long-term unemployed to a level approaching the age pension.
Source: National Senioers Media Release (October 3, 2011)

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