Monday, September 17, 2012

United Kingdom: Rise in Older Workers and in Employer Fears of Cost of Health Issues

According to a survey from Aviva, companies in the United Kingdom are already starting to see a change in their workforce demographics resulting from elimination of the default retirement age, prompting fears that aging workforce health issues will affect their company. "Aviva’s Health of the Workplace" reports that 29% of employers are already seeing a rise in the average age of employees, 37% of employers expect to see their workforce get older in the future, and 38% believe that ageing workforce health issues will impact their company. Aviva does note, however that 50% of employers believe there are positive benefits for individuals working past the traditional retirement age.
A quarter (24%) of employers are concerned that an increase in the numbers of older employees will see sickness absence rates rise. A similar proportion of employers (26%) were concerned that older employees would be absent with more serious conditions than their younger colleagues. Not surprisingly, nearly three-quarters (70%) of employers believe that health issues in the workplace will increase because older employees suffer from different medical complications to younger employees.
Employers also note that they will need to respond to these concerns, 29% saying they would need to offer different health advice, 18% that they would need to offer different health benefits, and 23% that they would need training to help spot signs of serious illness, such as dementia. In addition, 36% realized they may need to introduce flexible working hours for older employees.

Source: Aviva News Release (September 27, 2012)

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