Friday, May 31, 2013

Australia: Commission Report Calls for Addressing Barriers to Labor Force Participation by Mature Age People

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) released the final report for its inquiry into legal barriers to older persons participating in the workforce and other productive work. In "Access All Ages—Older Workers and Commonwealth Laws," ALRC makes 36 recommendations that address the areas of recruitment and employment, work, health and safety, workers’ compensation, insurance, social security, and superannuation, with the keystone recommendation being for a National Mature Age Workforce Participation Plan to provide a coordinated policy response to address barriers to participation by mature age people in the Australian labor market.

The ALRC considers that the Report’s recommendations, taken together, will provide:
  • a coordinated policy response to enabling mature age workforce participation;
  • consistency across Commonwealth laws and between Commonwealth and state and territory laws to support mature age workforce participation;
  • a reduction in age discrimination;
    a greater awareness of mature age workers’ rights and entitlements;
  • support for maintaining attachment to the workforce for mature age people; and
  • work environments, practices and processes that are appropriate for mature age workers.
In its response, National Seniors welcomes the report and many of its recommendations, but believes that the report does not got far enough. National Seniors argues that all age restrictions for workers compensation and superannuation should be repealed. Sources: Australian Law Reform Commission Media Release (May 30, 2013); National Seniors Media Release (May 30, 2013)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Australia: Research Finds Organizations Failing To Harness Skills and Talents of Older Women in Workforce

Diversity Council Australia, in partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission and with Sageco, has released research results about how underutilized older women—those 45 and older—really are and what employers can do to better harness their skills and talents for the benefit of business and the wider economy. According to "Older Women Matter: Harnessing the Talents of Australia’s Older Female Workforce," Australia’s older female workforce represent a sizeable and growing segment of the labor force but that Australian organizations are failing to harness their skills and talents. Furthermore, Australia’s performance in this area lags substantially behind comparable countries, such as New Zealand.

Among other things, the research finds that:
  • older women constitute 17% of Australia’s workforce with 45% of women aged 45 and over now in the labor force compared to 24% in 1978;
  • older women’s participation in the labor market is substantially lower than men’s in all age groups—as much as 17 points lower for women aged 55-64;
  • the most recent comparable data shows participation rates for Australian women aged 55-64 of 54.9% compared to 72% in Sweden, 69.8% in New Zealand, 59.5% in the US and 57.4% in Canada; and
  • employers can reap significant benefits if they review their attraction, retention, transition and flexible working strategies with older women in mind.
Source: Diversity Council Australia Media Alert (May 23, 2013)