Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Singapore: Seniors Group Calls for Legislation Raising Re-Hiring Age to 67

According to news reports, the PAP Seniors Group (PAP.SG)—the seniors advocacy arm of the People's Action Party (PAP)—has submitted a position paper to Singapore's Ministry of Manpower, calling for legislation to increase the rehiring age for older workers from 65 to 67.

PAP.SG believes that while past legislative changes in the employment of older workers, coupled with the government grants and incentives, have helped older workers aged 55 to 64 years, he Government's plan to roll out incentives next year to coax more employers to raise the reemployement age to 67 is unlikely to be as effective as making it the law, especially in non-unionized sectors, where most workers are employed.

Sources: AsiaOne "PAP.SG calls for legislation to raise rehiring age for older workers" (November 18, 2014); Straits Times "Make it a law for firms to lift re-employment age from 65 to 67: PAP Seniors Group" (November 18, 2014)

Thursday, November 06, 2014

New Zealand: Employers Need To Balance Retaining Older Workers with Developing New Workers

According to an article from Hays, New Zealand employers must balance the nation’s aging workforce with the continued development of new entrants to the labor market if they are to remain competitive long-term. According to Jason Walker, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand:
“Those aged 65 and over in the workforce will increase in number, however by 2029 there will be fewer people in the labour force than not.

“Given the impending shrinking of the workforce, it makes sense to retain mature age workers for as long as possible.

“But we must not do so at the expense of training and developing new entrants to the labour market. If we look to the future, in order to maintain our competitive edge we need to ensure the country has a future pipeline of talent who have the skills and experience necessary to replace our ageing workforce when they do eventually retire. Otherwise there will be a skills vacuum that will take many years and a huge amount of investment to fill."
Thus, the balance that employers need to strike between retaining highly-valued, well educated and experienced older workers, and recruiting and developing the next generation of employees. However, the ultimate goal, according to Hays, is to focus on the recruitment, development and training of staff at all levels and of all ages.

Hays further explores the topic of the aging workforce in "Mind the Age Gap," published in the Hays Journal Issue 8.

Source: Hays Press Release (November 5, 2014)

Monday, November 03, 2014

Malta: Minister Addresses Ageist Culture in Workplace at Active Aging Conference

According to press reports, Helena Dalli, Malta's Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, has told a conference on active aging that Malta needs to change the present attitude by creating a culture change to combat ageism, since there are increasing reports of ageism in the workplace. She noted that, while the government can pass laws, changing the culture by highlighting this issue to employers will teach society that this mentality has to change.

Among other things, Dalli encouraged the elderly to maintain an active lifestyle, within their abilities, and encouraged employers to view older workers as assets with vast experience upon which to call.

Source: Malta Today "Ageist culture in the workplace needs to change--Dalli" (October 31, 2014)

Other information: Malta Independent "Active Ageing Strategy launched" (November 25, 2013); Parliamentary Secretariat for Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Active Ageing "Welcome Active Ageing

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Taiwan: Survey Shows Older Workers Planning To Work after Retirement Age

1111 Job Bank has released a survey finding that the vast majority of Taiwan’s office workers intend to continue working after they retire. The main reasons given are financial concerns or to gain a sense of achievement. Specifically, 85.9% of those surveyed said they would still work in one form or another after retiring, with about 51% saying that they will look for part-time work, another 13% intending to start their own business, and 18% planning to devote their energy to investing and managing their wealth. An additional 3.8% said they would try to find a full-time job.

1111 Job Bank vice president Ho Chi-sheng recommended that the government should quicken its pace in establishing a comprehensive care system for senior citizens, especially in view of Taiwan’s rapidly aging population, and advised enterprises to improve their work conditions and lower hiring thresholds for middle-aged and elderly workers.

Source: Taipei Times "Taiwanese office workers hope to work in retirement" (October 29, 2014)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Canada: Survey Finds Most Canadians Not Saving Enough for Retirement

Most Canadians are concerned they have not saved enough to sustain them through retirement, according to findings from a Conference Board of Canada report. In "A Survey of Non-retirees and Retirees in Canada: Retirement Perspectives and Plans," 60% of those 55-64 years of age, and a little over 40% of those aged 65+ report that they have not put enough money aside, and these numbers are lower for women and those with lower levels of household income. The Board also has published a companion report—"An Employer's Perspective: Retirement Savings and Preparedness"—examining employers' views on the retirement preparedness of their employees, and retirement savings plans and practices among Canadian organizations.

The effect of this is that over one-third of Canadians say they don't know when they'll be able to retire. In addition, the report finds that the average planned age of retirement was 63.2 years of age. Women (83.5%) were more uncertain than men (69.8%) regarding their planned future retirement, and up to 19% of respondents say they will never retire.
Concern over inadequate retirement savings has already led a good number of Canadians to delay their retirement. More than one in five respondents have decided to retire later than their initial plan five years ago. Furthermore, a full 45.6 per cent of respondents say they plan to continue to work part-time or on a contract basis after their official retirement, and the percentage increases with age. About 51 per cent of those aged 45-64, and 60 per cent of those aged 65+ say they will continue working past their official retirement date.
In the report on the perspective of employers, the Board reports that more than 40% of employers believe their employees are too optimistic in their assessment of when they will be able to retire, and close to 50% feel their employees are unaware of how much savings are needed for retirement.

Source: Conference Board of Canada Press Release (October 27, 2014)

Friday, October 24, 2014

United Kingdom: Prince Charles's Group Issues Report on Older Workers and Unemployment

In the United Kingdom, the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) and Business In The Community, which are looking at unemployment among the over 50's, have, with the International Longevity Centre, released the first of three reports looking at the economic barriers facing the over 50s. "The missing million: illuminating the employment challenges of the over 50s" reports that, of the 3.3 million economically inactive people aged 50-64, approximately 1 million people have been made "involuntarily workless" (pushed out of their previous job as a result of "shocks," a combination of redundancy, ill health or early retirement), which has created a group of millions of over 50s are not working but would like to and are not receiving the help they need.

In addition, the report finds that helping people aged over 50 are helped back into employment does not mean that younger people are crowded out of the labor market, but rather could lead to a potential £88 billion boost to the UK GDP.

Two further reports are expected to be published following this paper on employment solutions and benefits of maintaining an older workforce.

Sources: International Longevity Centre Press Release (October 23, 2014); PRIIME News Release (October 23, 2014)

Switzerland: OECD Reports Calls for Greater Efforts To Help Older Workers Stay at Work

The OECD has issued a report finding that Switzerland should do more to help older people, especially women, work longer in order to meet the challenge of a rapidly aging population. According to "Working Better with Age in Switzerland," while Switzerland has one of the highest employment rates for older workers in the OECD (in 2012, 70.5% of Swiss aged 55-64 were in work), the rate is much lower for women (61.5%), particularly if they are non-graduates (49%). In addition, the report notes that, once older workers lose their jobs, it is often difficult for them to get back into the labor market: 59% of unemployed Swiss workers aged over 55 had been out of work for more than 12 months in 2012, up from 40% a decade ago and above the OECD average of 47%.

Accordingly, the OECD recommends that Switzerland (in order of priority):
  • help women by promoting their employability, make it easier for them to balance work and family life throughout their careers and remove work disincentives in the tax system and the pension system;
  • make training more attractive for low-skilled workers and encourage enterprises to keep training them until the end of their careers;
  • encourage social partners and pension funds to reduce incentives for early retirement in their second pillar schemes;
  • support the action of the Public Employment Service in helping older workers, particularly aged 60-64, find stable jobs;
  • improve the targeting of social assistance budgets for the older unemployed to help them back into work;
  • encourage social partners to link pay more to experience and performance than age;and
  • combat age discrimination (which remains legal in Switzerland, and is quite common.
Source: OECD News Release (October 23, 2014)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Zealand: Conference Addresses Employment of Older Women

New Zealand's National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW) held a conference on "Employment of Older New Zealand Women" at which, among other things, results of research were presented, showing that there's a large number working low-paid and physically demanding shift work. In "The Employment of Older NZ Women", the study commissioned by NACEW, economist Paul Callister suggests that the rates of older women in the workforce, which have shot up from 2% of those aged 65 or more 20 years ago to 15% today, could top 30% in a further 20 years.
Combining the recent trends in education with the projected demographic change shows there is a large ‘bulge’ of mid-life women workers, most of whom are working full time and many of whom are well educated, who are moving towards traditional ages of retirement. Depending on their choices and opportunities in the labour market, in the short term this may lift the employment rates of older women. But in the longer term, this group will continue ageing and will move into age groups where employment rates are very low.
While presenting various data, comparing ages, education, region, and Maori, the paper does not make any specific recommendations. However it does suggest that relatively little is known about the employment of older women, and that one important issue for further research is the relative employment related earnings of older women and men.

At the conference, Traci Houpapa, NAECW chief executive, was quoted as saying that ageism is a major barrier to older women wanting to work: "Age discrimination can also have an impact, reducing the ability of older workers to change careers later in life if issues start to occur, therefore more flexible, sustainable employment is required to enable older workers to stay in the labour force."

According to another report, Minister for Women Louise Upston said the economy was strengthening but, as the employment market tightened, there would be increasing demand from employers for on-job training for staff who did not have formal qualifications.

Sources: TVNZ One News "Concerns raised for ageing female workers" (October 22, 2014); Stuff.co.nz "Working women 65 and older set to double" (October 22, 2014)

Survey Looks at "Generation 2.0" Gap between Younger and Older Employees in the Workplace, and Mentoring Needs

According to a survey conducted by Harris for Ricoh-USA, intergenerational tensions resonate in today's U.S. workplace as many younger workers question older colleagues' competence and many older workers question younger workers' commitment. Referring to this as "Generation 2.0," the survey found that:
  • 69% of those surveyed say younger workers are frustrating when it comes to work ethic;
  • 48% say the younger employees usually have to help older ones at their place of employment use technology; and
  • when workers are asked to identify which generations make the best mentors, they generally choose their own generation. In fact, those 18-34 (27%) are three times as likely as those ages 35-44 (8%), 45-54 (4%), and 55-64 (5%) to cite Gen Y (also known as Millennials) as the best.
According to Terrie Campbell, Vice President, Strategic Marketing, Ricoh Americas Corporation, "although Generation Gap 2.0 doesn't pervade the culture like the original generation gap did, it's no less a real phenomenon."
"We recommend companies take a hard look at whether their business information is working for employees of every workstyle," said Campbell. "At the same time, companies should configure their mentorship and training programs with generational differences in mind. They need to ensure that older workers have a comfort level with using technology effectively and that younger workers develop the people skills that previous generations have valued. There's a lot for employees to learn from one another."
Source: Ricoh-USA News Release (October 21, 2014)

Related Source:

Germany: Court Rules that Older Workers May Be Given More Vacation Time than Younger Workers

Germany's Federal Labor Court has issued a ruling that allows an employer of older workers to give more vacation days annually than the younger ones, finding that this difference in treatment on grounds of age can, from the viewpoint of protection of older employees in accordance with discrimination law, be permitted. In this case, a shoe manufacturer, decided that work in its production operation was physically tiring, to allot two extra vacation days to employees after 58 years of age, to allow for longer recovery times than younger workers.

According to one report, a court spokesman said that this kind of differentiation would have to be decided on a case-by-case basis, as different types of work placed different strains on workers.

Sources: Federal Labor Court Press Release No. 57/14 (October 21, 2014); The Local "Older workers can have extra days off, court says" (October 21, 2014)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Research: Effect of Early Retirement and Part-time Employment on Participation Rates of Older Workers in Europe

The results of a study analyzing the variation in labor market withdrawal of older workers across 13 European countries over the period 1995-2008 has been published. In "Early retirement across Europe. Does non-standard employment increase participation of older workers?," Jim Been and Olaf Van Vliet sought "to contribute to existing macro-econometric studies by taking non-standard employment into account, by relating the empirical model more explicitly to optional value model theory on retirement decisions and by using a two-step IV-GMM estimator to deal with endogeneity issues."

Their analysis, published as Netspar Discussion Paper No. 10-2014-044 led Been and Van Vliet to the conclusion that part-time employment is negatively related to labor market withdrawal of older men. This relationship is less strong among women. In addition, they found that part-time employment at older ages does not decrease the average actual hours worked. Furthermore, the results show a positive relationship between unemployment among older workers and early retirement similar to previous studies.
As a wider implication, our results suggest that facilitating part-time work might contribute to higher labor market participation among older workers at the extensive margin. However, facilitating part-time employment could also induce a reduction in working hours among persons who would otherwise have remained working in full-time employment. Our analysis suggests that increases in part-time employment did not have negative effects on the labor supply at the intensive margin across countries. For men, the results even suggest clear positive effects. This indicates that part-time work schemes may actually increase the labor supply at both the extensive and the intensive margin at older ages.
Source: Social Science Research Network Abstract (October 15, 2014)

Saturday, September 06, 2014

United Kingdom: Survey Finds Gen Y Employees with Negative Attitude Toward Older Workers, Flextime

According to research conducted for the United Kingdom law firm Doyle Clayton, Generation Y employees have the most negative attitudes towards older employees and part-time and flexible workers. In addition, "Age Before Beauty? The Challenges Facing Britain's Managers in Overcoming Age and Gender Discrimination in the Workplace" reports that, according to their employees, micro businesses are Britain’s least discriminatory workplaces, and mid-sized businesses are where you are most likely to experience discrimination at work.

Among the key findings from "Age Before Beauty?" are:
  • in micro businesses (1-9 employees), 96% of employees feel that age discrimination has never been an issue;
  • in medium sized (50 – 249) and larger businesses, over 20% of employees had witnessed discrimination on grounds of age, whereas in micro businesses virtually no employee interviewed had witnessed it;
  • 20% of employees at medium sized and large businesses view colleagues who work flexibly as less committed, whereas employees at micro businesses were consistently more positive; and
  • Generation Y have the most discriminatory attitude toward flexible working and older workers, with 27.4% of those aged 25 to 34 seeing fellow employee working part-time as less committed, 31.1% seeing those working from home two or more days a week as less committed, and 18.3% (more than twice any other age group) seeing workers over 60 as less valuable.
Source: Doyle Clayton News (September 2, 2014)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Aging Workforce Issues Come To the Comics Page

I don't know how long this story line will go on, but starting with the July 28, 2014, strip "Judge Parker," older workers are being looked at as a means of building new business with lower labor costs.



In this instance, senior citizens are being targeted for their decreased need for health care and pensions. It will be interesting to see what transpires, but the concept that the seniors that need work might be the ones without health care and pensions seems to be missing.

Source: Washington Post Judge Parker (July 28, 2014)

Monday, July 14, 2014

United Kingdom: Government Appoints Business Champion for Older Workers

Dr. Ros Altmann CBE has been appointed by the United Kingdom government as its new Business Champion for Older Workers. A former director-general of Saga and independent expert on later life issues, Dr. Altmann is tasked with making the case for older workers within the business community and challenging outdated perceptions. Her appointment follows the government’s publication of "Fuller Working Lives – A Framework For Action," which set out the benefits to individuals, business and the economy as a whole of people aged over 50 staying in work.

In making the appointment, Minister of Work and Pensions Steve Webb MP, said that he "wanted a powerful voice; someone respected amongst the business community, with a track record of speaking up for consumer rights without fear or favour. In Dr Ros Altmann that’s exactly what we have." Dr. Altmann said:
I am really proud to be taking on this new role and look forward to championing over 50s in the workplace. This fast-growing section of society has so much experience and talent to offer and could play a vital role in future growth. Everyone can benefit from ensuring their skills do not go to waste. I also look forward to challenging some of the outdated and downright inaccurate perceptions of later life workers who still have so much to offer.
Source: United Kingdom Department of Work and Pensions Press Release (July 14, 2014)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Midwestern United States: Immigration Helping To Overcome Population Loss and Aging Workforce

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs has issued a report finding that immigration is a demographic lifeline for metropolitan areas throughout the 12-state Midwest region, helping to overcome population decline and an aging workforce. According to "Growing the Heartland: How Immigrants Offset Population Decline and an Aging Workforce in
Midwest Metropolitan Areas,"
authored by Rob Paral, the number of native-born persons aged 35 to 44—in their prime working and tax-paying years—fell by 1.4 million from 2000 to 2010 in the Midwest, while the percent of Midwesterners who are in their late working years or early retirement years is on the upswing. On the other hand, while the number of native-born persons in Midwestern metro areas grew by only 3.3% between 2000 and 2010, the number of immigrants grew by 27%, so that immigration now accounts for 38.4% of all metro area growth in the Midwest.
“The demographics reveal that the immigrant population is here and important to the region’s growth,” said Juliana Kerr, who directs The Chicago Council’s immigration work. “Policymakers now should focus on developing effective policies to seamlessly integrate immigrants and leverage their economic potential.”
Source: The Chicago Council on Global Affairs Press Release (June 24, 2014)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Research: Pension Workshop Includes Presentations on Interplay of Continued Work and Pension Claims

The Netspar International Pension Workshop hosted by Venice International University in June 2014, heard presentations on a range of topics on the common themes of retirement, pensions and aging. Among other things, presentations included:Source: Netspar News Release (June 23, 2014)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Singapore: Government Announces Plan for Incentives to Employers Implementing Flexible Work for Mature Workers

At a speech on "Effective Workplaces: Creating a Flexible, Inclusive, Safe and Healthy Workplace" delivered at the Age Management Seminar, Dr. Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower, announced several enhancements that the Singapore Government was going to make to WorkPro to help employers better manage mature workers, especially with respect to flexible work arrangements (FWAs). The most significant enhancement is to:
provide employers with a $10,000 incentive to pilot new FWAs, and an additional $10,000 to support them in implementing the FWAs company-wide. With the enhancement, employers can receive a total funding of $40,000 for implementing FWAs, including the reimbursement of expenses incurred during the pilot and company-wide implementation.
In addition, expanding on the $40,000 a year employers can currently receive if they have 30% of their workers using FWAs, there will also be a cash incentive of up to $25,000 a year for employers who have 20% of workers benefitting from FWAs.

Khor also announced that the goverment would introduce a Workplace Health Promotion (WHP) Facilitator’s course, to help arm employers with the necessary knowledge and tools to plan, design and evaluate workplace health programs for their workers. "This will ensure that all employers who tap on the Age Management Grant have the capability to actively promote healthy living among their employees, especially the older ones."

In order "for companies to understand the value that mature workers bring to their business, and adopt a nondiscriminatory mindset when it comes to hiring and managing workers," Khor said that the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers is launching an advertising campaign—entitled "Tap into a Wealth of Experience"—to highlight the value and experience that mature workers can bring to the workplace.

Sources: Ministry of Manpower Speeches (June 18, 2014); The Straits Times "$10,000 grant for bosses who try flexi-work schemes" (June 19, 2014)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Average Age of Disability Claims Rises to Above 50

The Council for Disability Awareness reports that, in 2013, the average claimant age exceeded 50 for the first time ever. Claims for those age 50 and older, mostly driven by claimants over age 60, have been consistently increasing as a percentage of the total, reflecting the aging of America's working population. According to its report, "2014 Long Term Disability Claims Review," 59% of the new claims approved during 2013 were for individuals age 50 or older. The Council also cites an aging workforce as one of the factors most cited by reporting companies as likely to impact future claim incidence.

In an article about the report for Bloomberg News, Craig Giammona writes that "Prudential Financial Inc. (PRU) and Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG) are among insurers that have raised prices for the coverage after being caught off guard by higher-than-expected claims costs." In addition, he quotes Council President Barry Lundquist as saying: "On average, older people have higher wages and it’s harder for them to get back to work.When you think about the baby boomers and how old they are now, they have a much higher chance of becoming disabled -- maybe a four or five times higher chance in a given year than someone that’s in their twenties or thirties.…When you think about the baby boomers and how old they are now, they have a much higher chance of becoming disabled—maybe a four or five times higher chance in a given year than someone that’s in their twenties or thirties."

Sources: Council for Disability Awareness News Release (June 17, 2014); Bloomberg News "Aging Workers Push Disability Costs Higher for Insurers" (June 17, 2014)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Survey: Americans Find Later Life without Work To Be Impractical and Undesirable

A survey conducted by Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and Age Wave reports that 72% of pre-retirees over the age of 50 in the United States say their ideal retirement will include working. In addition, 47% of current retirees report having worked or planning to work during their retirement years.

According to the study ("Work in Retirement: Myths and Motivations"), whereas retirement used to be viewed as a permanent end of work followed by a period of continuous leisure, not retirement is better viewed as a phased process, which the authors call "The New Retirement Workscape" consisting of:
  1. pre-retirement—for employees within five years of retirement, 37% have taken meaningful steps towards a retirement career, and within two years of retirement, 54% have done so;
  2. career intermission—52% of retirees report they took a break, averaging 2.5 years, before working again;
  3. reengagement—a period lasting around nine years, during which 83% of people working flex careers work part-time, as opposed to 17% in pre-retirement careers, and 32% are self-employed, as compared to 11% in pre-retirement careers; and
  4. leisure.
The full survey report has been made available. Source: Merrill Lynch Global Wealth ManagementNews Release (June 4, 2014)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Research: Does Health Care Reform Affect Labor Participation by Older Workers?

In a blog posting on MarketWatch, Alicia H. Munnell follows up on research published by Center for Retirement Research at Boston College on the effects of Massachusetts’ health-insurance reform. According to Munnell, analysis "yielded an interesting result. It showed that, compared to nearby states, 55-to-64-year-old males in Massachusetts experienced the largest decline in labor force participation between the time before and after the health insurance reform." Specifically, the state Massachusetts saw a decline in labor force participation for that group of 1.3 percentage points while the rest of the nation saw an increase of 1.7 percentage points.

One possibility for the difference could be the ability of those men to acquire affordable health insurance without having to wait for Medicare. In support of this theory, Munnell notes that "prior to Massachusetts’ health reform, 93% of 55-to-64-year-old males who were out of the labor force had health insurance; after the reform that number had risen to 97%."

Munnell then contemplated extrapolating these results across the country, in light of the Affordable Care Act. She said that, "[i]f unhealthy workers—or people who simply hate their jobs—were able to leave the labor force because of expanded access to health insurance, economists argue that this reduction may not be a bad thing." However, "if health reform alters the financial incentives to work through higher marginal income taxes on labor, as some have argued will be the case under the ACA, then a reduction in labor force participation may be a negative outcome of health reform."

Source: MarketWatch "Will health reform affect older workers?" (June 11, 2014)

United Kingdom: Pension Minister Launches Action Plan To Help Older Workers Stay in the Workplace

The United Kingdom's Department for Work and Pensions and Pensions Minister Steve Webb has announced that the government will launch of a new action plan to support the economy, workers, and businesses, but stressed that British business must realize the potential of older workers and help people to stay in the workplace. Detailed in "Fuller Working Lives—a framework for action," the new measures include:
  • extending the right to request flexible working to all employees in June 2014;
  • the appointment of a new Older Workers’ Employment Champion—a respected and independent-minded figure who will advocate the case for older workers within the business community and wider society; and
  • the launch of a new Health and Work Service which will give workers with long-term health problems the support they need to stay in or return to work.
According to the announcement, while the employment rate for 55 to 64 year olds is around 60% and growing, the recent improvement has been relatively modest compared to many other nations, and several countries achieve employment rates of around 70% or above. Among other things, Webb said:
  • "Older workers have a huge amount to bring to any workforce and are a vast untapped talent."
  • "We are living longer and can expect many more years of healthy life. It’s great news – but it’s something that as a society and as an economy we need to respond to."
  • 'As part of building a fairer society, I am determined that we boost our support for older workers and help employers challenge outdated perceptions to see the real strengths of this important section of the workforce."
Source: Department for Work and Pensions and Steve Webb MP Press Release (June 13, 2014)

Other Sources: Daily Mail "Flexible hours push to help the over-50s stay in work: Pensions Minister says older generation are 'vast untapped talent'" (June 13, 2014)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Finland: Rising Age for Pre-Retirement Unemployment Benefits May Be Causing Increased Unemployment among Older Workers

As reported in Yle Uutiset, Statistics Finland has found that seniors facing a growing risk of unemployment as they age, and a "Tampere University researcher says the reason for the trend could be the constantly rising lower age limit for pre-retirement unemployment benefits."

Specifically, the data is showing that for men the risk of becoming jobless was greatest between the ages of 58 and 59, while for women the corresponding age was 58, while in 20023, the risk of unemployment was highest for men aged 55 and for women who were 56.
University of Tampere special researcher Simo Aho said that the steady risk in the risk age is due to ongoing rise in the age at which workers become eligible for additional earnings-related unemployment allowance. Currently persons who lose their jobs are eligible for the allowance from the age of 58 until retirement.
Source: Yle Uutiset "Unemployment risk growing among pre-retirement workers" (June 9, 2014)

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Sweden: Looking at Retirement Age and Proposals to Strengthening Labor Participation by Older Workers

SeniorPolittik.no is running a series of articles on Sweden and retirement. According to the lead story, even though, under Swedish law, an individual has no right to remain in employment after age 67, and Swedes have the right to withdraw retirement pension as early as age 61, among both employers and employees it is a deeply rooted belief that the earlier retirement age of 65, the normal retirement age.

Swedes work longer than workers in many other countries, such as Denmark and Finland. However, labor force participation among Swedes aged 65 and older is generally not as high as in for example Norway. Labour force participation among older Swedish women, however, higher than in Norway. Nevertheless, politicians are worried and stressing among other things, that Norway has been more successful in changing attitudes away from a fixed retirement age.

Drawing on a report prepared for the Swedish parliament earlier in 2014, it is apparent that negative attitudes towards older workers is common. The report notes that Norway's creation of a center for senior policy is a cause of the attitudes in Norway being less negative, and it concluded that it is not enough just to raise the retirement age to change the perception of older workers. Information and knowledge are also needed.

While the Swedish report notes that "everyone can not work indefinitely, but many are able to work with and much longer than is the case now," there are proposals to raise the statutory right to continue in employment to 69. In addition, a year ago, proposals were submitted o the government to raise the age for the earliest opportunity to receive a pension from the government gradually from 61 years, on the grounds that life expectancy is projected to increase.

Sources: SeniorPolittik.no, Retirement Age in Sweden: "Mener Norge har lyktes bedre" [Believe Norway has succeeded better], "Fant sin egen vei videre" [Found their own way forward], "Bør være en menneskerett å få arbeide" [Should be a human right to work] (June 2014);

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Israel: Government Drafting Proposal to Encourage Delayed Retirements

According to an article in Haaretz, the Israeli government is drafting a plan to encourage people to work past retirement age. As reported by Meirav Arlosoroff, the plan drafted by the Pensioner Affairs Ministry—led by minister Uri Orbach and ministry director general Gilad Semama—together with the National Economic Council in the Prime Minister’s Office would cost NIS 240 million ($69 million) a year, and would be funded by dropping the current pension increases offered to people who keep working beyond retirement age.
The number of retirement-age Israelis is set to reach nearly 15% by 2030, from 10% today, meaning the national expenditure on the elderly is likely to grow from the current 10.2% of GDP to nearly 12%, an increase of 16 billion shekels.

Surveys have shown that most people approaching pension age would like to continue working, but face barriers including discrimination, outdated skills and above all a taxation and state pension policy that serves as a strong disincentive.
In Israel, the retirement age is 62 for women and 67 for men. Currently, taxation and pension policies that essentially work out to a 97% income tax on some retirees who continue to work past retirement age, although those taxes are greatly reduced if someone works past 70. The proposal would cut the taxes and penalties for working to 44%-67% of the person’s salary.

In a follow-up article, Arlosoroff reports on a survey conducted by the business data firm BDI Coface for TheMarker, which revealed that only one in five workers hired by the 100 largest companies was over 45—revealing a picture of blatant discrimination based on pure prejudice:
Older job seekers are less likely than their younger peers to be hired, despite being perceived as more stable, experienced and capable of working longer hours because they don’t have small children at home.
These results echo findings of a survey conducted for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by the Economy Ministry’s research division, which found that the hiring rate for employees aged 45 and up is just 1.3%, even though this group accounts for 38% of Israel’s labor force.

Source: Haaretz "Plan would reduce tax, pension penalties for working past retirement" (May 27, 2014); Haaretz "No country for old workers" (May 30, 2014)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Survey: Workers More Optimistic about Retirement, but More Contemplating Phased Retirement

The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® has released the results of its annual retirement survey, which found increased optimism among workers around the world about improvements in their local economies, but also noted that many workers envision some kind of phased transition into retirement. According to "The Changing Face of Retirement—The Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey (2014)," just 32% of workers surveyed plan to immediately stop working and fully retire. In the United States, this number is just 24%, while in European nations, which which have histories of compulsory retirement, workers are more likely to plan to stop immediately: for example, , 52% in Spain and 51% in France.
Employment and government policy reforms are needed to facilitate this new approach to retirement, yet change is not catching up with worker demand: only 23 percent of workers say their employers facilitate transitioning from full-time to part-time. Even fewer U.S. workers (21 percent) indicate their workplace policies accommodate the transition. In many cases, change in labor and pension laws, as well as a change in cultural norms, are needed to facilitate implementation of a phased retirement program.
The Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2014 is a collaboration between the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies and Aegon. The survey encompasses 16,000 employees and retirees in 15 countries, with separate country reports available for each of them: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. These countries were selected on the basis of their distinctive pension systems, as well as their varying demographic and aging trends.

Source: Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® News Release (May 29, 2014)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Alaska: Department of Labor Outlines Status of Aging Workforce and Consequences of Increased Retirements

An article in the May 2014 issue of Alaska Economic Trends looks at the current composition of the state's workforce and jobs with high numbers of older workers in order to help identify occupations most likely to be affected by an increase in retirements. According to the report by Rob Krieger, from 2002 to 2012, there has been an increase in both the number and percentage of older workers in the state. In addition, this age group earns a much larger percentage of total wages than they did a decade ago. These trends are more significant in the public sector.

In looking at the jobs with the most older workers, the top occupations within state and local government include a number of technical and specialized positions, management and teaching jobs.
In the private sector, these occupations include a combination of highly skilled, highly technical, and top-level management positions. Physicians and surgeons, architectural and engineering managers, and chief executives topped this list…. What these occupations have in common is their requirement for extensive education and experience.
The article also points out that one major factor in determining the effects of vacancies will be the rate at which these workers retire, since not all who are eligible will retire at once, and some will remain working.

Source: Alaska Department of Labor "A Growing Number of Older Workers: Where upcoming retirements could come from" Alaska Economic Trends (May 2014)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Australia: Employment Discrimination against Older Workers on the Decline

The Financial Services Council has issued a report showing that discrimination towards older workers is on the decrease in Australia. According to "How Older Workers are Valued: Results of the National Survey on Attitudes to Older Workers," Australian employers are viewing older workers as a more reliable source of skills and experience despite pressures from the broader economy. In particular, the report finds that only 18% employees between 50 and 75 said they were discriminated against on the grounds of age, down from 28% a couple years ago.

Among other key findings in the report:
  • 66% of older workers want to keep working regardless of their financial situation;
  • 39% of older workers want more flexibility in hours and remuneration;
  • 67% of older workers have been offered training or upskilling by their employers;
  • 41% of older workers believe they should be paid more than younger employees based on their skills and knowledge, 43% said they should be paid about the same.
Source: Financial Services Council Media Release (April 28, 2014)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Australia: Study Finds Governments Not Doing Enough To Hire Older Workers

According to a study using Australian Bureau of Statistics and Census data, both federal and state governments in Australia lag well behind the private sector when it comes to employing older workers. In "Past, present and future of mature age labour force participation in Australia," the National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre highlights variations in rates of aging and mature age participation across the country.

National Seniors points in particular to a marked decline in the proportion of people aged 60 and over employed by governments, noting that around 16.4% of men aged 50 to 59 work across national, state and local bureaucracies, but this falls to 12.7% for men in their 60s, while women drop from 24.2% in their 50s to 20.1%. In contrast, private sector employment actually increases as people age.

According to National Seniors chief executive Michael O’Neill, “[t]he public service should represent the gold standard in hiring and retaining mature age staff. Instead, public servants aged over 60 are a rare breed across the country....When it comes to employing senior Australians, governments, both federal and state, get a big ‘F’”.

The report concludes that an aging workforce underscores the importance of addressing the barriers to mature age employment from age limits on workers compensation to discriminatory recruitment practices. In addition, the projected decline in the overall growth in labor supply over the next 30 years underscores the need for governments, industry and employers to recognize the importance of ongoing mature age participation.

Source: National Seniors Press Release (April 17, 2014)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

EBRI Reports that Women are Driving Increased Labor Participation by Workers 55 and Over in the U.S.

According to an EBRI report, older workers (those 55 and older) are a growing presence in the U.S. work force, a trend
driven mainly by women. The April 2014 EBRI Notes—"Labor-force Participation Rates of the Population Ages 55 and Older, 2013"—finds that the labor-force participation rate for those ages 55 and older rose throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, and that, for those aged 55–64, the upward trend was driven almost exclusively by the increased labor-force participation of women. For men, the participation rate was flat to declining. For workers 65 or older, participation rates increased for both men and women.

EBRI attributes the upward trend in labor-force participation to workers’ current need for continued access to employment-based health insurance, as well as for the need for more years of earnings to accumulate savings in defined contribution plans and/or to pay down debt. It also notes that "[m]any Americans also want to work longer, especially those with more education for whom more meaningful jobs are available that can be performed into older ages."

The EBRI report is less clear about how differing participation rates affect the generations. Thus, younger workers’ labor-force participation rates increased when that of older workers declined or remained low during the late 1970s to the early 1990s. However, as younger workers’ rates began to decline in the late 1990s, those for older workers continuously increased. "Consequently, it appears either that older workers filled the void left by younger workers’ lower participation, or that higher older-worker participation limited the opportunities for younger workers or discouraged them from participating in the labor force."

Source: EBRI Press Release (April 16, 2014)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Netherlands: OECD Report Calls for Greater Efforts Encouraging More People To Work Later in Life

The Netherlands must encourage more people to work later in life in order to help it meet its growing challenges of a rapidly aging population and rising social spending, according to the OECD. In its report "Ageing and Employment Policies: Netherlands 2014: Working Better with Age," the OECD says that while reforms over the past decade, such as raising the pension age, have already had an impact—so that the share of 55-64 year olds in work has increased significantly to just over 60% in 2013 (above the OECD average of 55%)—the Netherlands remains well behind the best OECD achievers, ranking only 16th for the employment rate of 55-64 year olds among the 34 OECD countries.

Among its recommendations, the OECD says the Netherlands should:
  • promote longer contribution periods in second-pillar pension schemes and increase flexibility in withdrawal and combinations of pension and work to encourage longer careers;
  • reduce the maximum duration of unemployment insurance benefits combined with better activation of all unemployment benefit recipients;
  • keep replacement rates (the ratio of benefits to former earnings) of sickness and disability benefit well below 100%, and give access to wage-compensation already in the sickness benefit period for re-entry to new jobs with a lower wage;
  • ensure that new practices among innovative firms in the Sustainable Employability program are promoted and progressively become national standards;
  • mobilize more fully labor resources by supporting initiatives to facilitate working on a full-time basis for part-time workers.
Source: OECD News Release (April 16, 2014)

Update: Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment of the Netherlands Press Release (April 16, 2014)

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Research: Governments Need To Restructure Deferred Retirement Plans To Encourage Retention of Employees

A University of Missouri researcher concluded has that states may need to restructure deferred retirement incentives to encourage more employees to remain on the job longer and minimize the disruption to government operations. Using, as a case study, the state of Missouri’s Deferred Retirement Option Provision (BackDROP), Angela Curl, assistant professor in the University of Missouri School of Social Work, looked at how the large numbers of possible retirees—in Missouri, more than 25% of all active state employees will be eligible to retire by 2016—threaten the continuity, membership and institutional histories of the state government workforce.
Curl said that a good system of employee retention is inclusive, flexible and accounts for the wide range of circumstances that retirement-eligible employees may consider when deciding to defer retirement. These circumstances could include caregiving for older parents or having a spouse who is retired. In Missouri, BackDROP offers a one-time payment equaling 90 percent of what employees would have received in benefits for an additional five years of service as incentive to delay retirement.
Curl said that “[e]mployers need to ask if their organizations are designed to promote turnover or promote retention. . . . States should recognize the benefits of promoting retention. Using delayed retirement incentives to encourage retention is important, particularly when dealing with older employees.”

A paper—“A case study of Missouri’s deferred retirement incentive for state employees”—co-authored by Kirsten Havig, will appear in the Journal of Aging and Social Policy`. Among other things, the study also found that social demographics such as race, sex, level of education and marital status did not play a significant role in an employee’s decision to defer retirement.

Sources: University of Missouri News Release (April 3, 2014); Columbia Business Times "MU researcher examines options for aging workforce" (April 8, 2014)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Survey: Tower Watson Shows More Workers Planning on Delaying Retirement Past 70

Tower Watson's annual survey of employee attitudes towards retirement finds that at workers are especially worried about the affordability of health care in retirement, and significant numbers have been forced to cut back on spending and plan to delay retirement, many until age 70 or later. According to Towers Watson’s 2013/2014 Global Benefit Attitudes Survey, while 46% of full-time employees are satisfied with their current finances—a sharp increase from 26% in 2009, 58% remain worried about their financial future. Employees’ confidence in their ability to retire has climbed with 23% very confident of their income sufficiency for the first 15 years of retirement. On the other hand, that confidence deteriorates when workers look farther ahead, with only 8% very confident of having adequate income 25 years into retirement.

With respect to delayed retirement, Tower Watson reports:
With many workers expecting to fall short on their retirement savings, nearly four in 10 plan on working longer. That’s an increase of nine percentage points since 2009. A large majority of these employees expect to delay retirement by three or more years, and 44% plan on a delay of five years or more. The profile of those delaying retirement tends toward the disengaged, less healthy and more stressed. These findings suggest a higher average retirement age in the future. In 2009, 31% of workers planned on retiring before 65, and 41% planned on retiring after 65. According to the 2013 survey, only 25% plan on retiring before 65, and half expect to retire after 65. One in three employees either does not expect to retire until after 70 or doesn’t plan to retire at all.
Tower Watson also notes that access to a defined benefit plan is a significant factor in employee attitudes: Workers without such access (and those in ill health) are consistently the most worried about their finances and retirement; workers with access to such plans are moderately more secure and more engaged in reviewing their savings, although even they continue to worry about possible changes to their plans and cuts to public programs.

Source: Tower Watson News Release (March 26, 2014)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Northern Ireland: Commissioner for Older People Urges Government and Employers To Increase Older Workers Participation in the Workforce

The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland has released a report that shows that the economy in Northern Ireland could be increased by £2.3billion by 2037 if the number of older people in the workforce increases. According to "Valuing an Ageing Workforce," which was produced in conjunction with the International Longevity Centre-UK, the government and employers should introduce ways to enable older people to remain in the workforce for as long as they wish to. The Commissioner, Claire Keatinge, says:
"This shows that older workers can be more effective than their younger colleagues and make a positive contribution in the workplace, despite widely held misconceptions that somehow productivity and output diminish with age.

"Many people will want to stay in work, for a variety of reasons, such as the removal of the previous Default Retirement Age, increase in life expectancy, and for personal fulfillment; and some will stay in work because they need to for financial reasons.

"It is essential that appropriate supports are put in place so as to enable older workers to continue to be able to play a positive role in the workforce."
Among the findings reported by the Commissioner and highlighted in a briefing note to the report are:
  1. Employers would benefit from valuing the positive role that older people play in the workplace.
  2. Employment rates for older people in Northern Ireland have increased since the financial crisis in 2008 and there is a strong economic case for working beyond 65.
  3. There are still a range of barriers which prevent people working longer, including ageist attitudes, health, caring responsibilities, skills and training opportunities, as well as the fact that ‘cliff-edge’ retirement is still a common occurrence here.
  4. Initiatives should be introduced by the Northern Ireland
    Executive and employers to support people to work longer, should they wish to do so.
  5. Older people in Northern Ireland should have the right to remain in work as well as the right to retire, and they should be supported in either scenario.
Source: Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland News Release (March 25, 2014)

AgeUK Literature Review Finds Someone’s Age Bears No Relation to Worker's Ability To Do Most Jobs

A literature review conducted by AgeUK reports that someone's age bears no relation to their ability or capability to perform the vast majority of jobs. Thus, AgeUK recommends that employers reconsider their existing workforce and HR strategies, and develop more effective retirement policies that place the wellbeing of their older employees at the heart of the process.

In its review, AgeUK finds, among other things that:
  • The evidence shows either a lack of relationship between productivity and age, or that older workers are at least as productive as their younger colleagues. Even in physically
    demanding situations, for example on a factory production line, age is no barrier to working productively.
  • Measuring individual productivity is challenging for researchers. Older studies, which often suggest older workers are less productive, frequently rely on outdated assumptions about aging and health, or fail to account for a myriad of other factors. More recent studies, which often find older workers are at least as productive as younger workers, are better able to account for these.
  • As people age some cognitive and physical abilities do change—however, this does not
    make older workers better or worse than younger colleagues. There is no evidence of a substantive decline in ability in most people until well past the end of a typical working life. Aging affects everyone differently, and it is not possible to make predictions about any one individual’s capability.
  • The interaction between skills, knowledge and experience means that many tasks can in fact be performed better as people age, and raises challenges for employers about how best to utilize individuals’ skills and abilities.
  • Recognizing the challenges faced by older workers and offering solutions to mitigate them, for example flexible working to help people meet caring responsibilities, can help enhance individual productivity.
Source: AgeUK "Productivity and Age" (March 2014)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Australia: Superannuation Conference Hears about Research Findings on Involuntary Retirement and Gen Y Attitudes about Suuperannuation

The 2014 Conference of Major Superannuation Funds sponsored by the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) heard from a number of presenters about the confluence of retirement and an aging workforce. Among other things, conferees heard that:
  • A more flexible approach to retirement may be needed to account for the significant minority of older Australians who are forced to leave the workforce early. According to a research report commissioned by AIST and prepared by the Australian Centre for Financial Studies (ACFS), up to 40% of older Australians could be classified as involuntary retirees. AIST CEO Tom "Garcia said more needed to be done to help older workers stay in the workforce longer so that they had a better chance of building their retirement savings before they reached old age. Equally, there needed to be recognition that those who retired early due to ill-health were often hit with additional health-related expenses that put pressure on their savings. See AIST media release, as well as presentation by Professor Deborah Ralston, Executive Director, ACFS, Professor of Finance, Monash University on "Involuntary Retirement: Characteristics and
    Implications"
  • Research commissioned by AIST suggests that many Gen Y’s have a realistic idea of how much money they need to retire, what the Age Pension will supplement and how they want to use their money at retirement time. However, they lack the knowledge and education to understand more. See AIST media release and presentation by Michelle Tustin, Research Director, Colmar Brunton, on "Gen Y: The Messaging Wars"
Source: Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees CMSF2014 Presentations (March 2014)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Age and the Technology Sector: Noam Scheiber Calls Out the "Brutality" of Ageism

In a lengthy article in The New Republic by Noam Scheiber writes about how "Silicon Valley has become one of the most ageist places in America." According to Scheiber, "tech luminaries who otherwise pride themselves on their dedication to meritocracy don’t think twice about deriding the not-actually-old." As he said on NPR: "On the engineering side, 35 really starts to be considered quite old. The computer languages change so quickly that people are quickly perceived to be out of date. On the entrepreneur side, people value experience a little more but there, even 40 and over tends to be perceived as quite old."
When taken to its logical extreme, a tech sector that discriminates in favor of the young might produce an economy with some revolutionary ways of keeping ourselves entertained and in touch at all hours of the day and night. But it would be an economy that shortchanged other essential sectors, like, say, biotech or health care.
Source: The New Republic "The Brutal Ageism of Tech: Years of experience, plenty of talent, completely obsolete
" (March 23, 2014)

Other sources: NPR All Things Considered "Weaned On Youth, Silicon Valley Keeps Older Workers On Sidelines" (March 24, 2014); CNBC "How Silicon Valley discriminates against older workers...to its own peril"; BigThink "The Brutal Ageism of Silicon Valley"

Friday, March 21, 2014

Nevada: AARP Surveys Opinions about Discrimination against Older Workers

AARP has released the results of a survey of older voters in Nevada designed to determine public views on older workers, age discrimination, and the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA). According to "Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act: A Survey of Nevada Voters Ages 50+ (POWADA)," over one-third of older voters report that they or someone they know has recently experienced age discrimination in the workplace, and 89% say it is important for Congress to take action and restore workplace protections against age discrimination.

In addition, 92% of those surveyed agree that the high cost of gas, health care, food, and housing requires many Americans to work longer in order to rebuild their retirement savings, with 78% strongly agreeing. Also, 90% agree that older Americans are putting off retirement either to make ends meet or to save money for retirement.

AARP's survey followed on a 2012 survey of older voters in Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Tennessee.

Source: AARP Press Release (March 2014)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

EBRI Retirement Confidence Survey Finds

According to the 24th annual Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), Americans’ confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has recovered somewhat from the record lows of the past five years, but it does not appear to be founded on improved retirement preparations. In fact, "The 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey: Confidence Rebounds—for Those With Retirement Plans" (Issue Brief No. 397) suggests that the improvement may be limited to those with retirement plans.

In the aggregate, reported worker savings remain low, and only a minority appear to be taking basic steps
to prepare for retirement. Nearly half of workers without a retirement plan were not at all confident about their financial security in retirement, compared with only about 1 in 10 with a plan.

Among EBRI's other findings:
  • The increase in confidence between 2013 and 2014 occurred primarily among those with a plan (an increase from 14% very confident in 2013 to 24% in 2014 for those with a plan, compared with level readings among those without a plan (10% very confident in 2013 and 9% in 2014).
  • The percentage of workers planning to work for pay in retirement now stands at 65%, compared with just 27% of retirees who report they work for pay in retirement.
  • Only 44% report they and/or their spouse have tried to calculate how much money they will need to have saved by the time they retire so that they can live comfortably in retirement, a level that has held relatively consistent over the past decade.
Source: EBRI Press Release (March 18, 2014)

Friday, February 28, 2014

United Kingdom: TUC Report Finds Women Over 50 Face Rigid Workplace

Following an investigation by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) into issues facing women over 50 at work, the TUC finds that a rigid workplace culture is making it difficult for older women to balance their careers with caring responsibilities, leading to decades of low pay at the end of their working lives and poverty in retirement. According to "Age Immaterial: Women over 50 in the Workplace," while a record number of older women are in work, many are trapped in low-paid jobs and are struggling to balance caring responsibilities with work. Among other things, the report finds that:
  • the gender pay gap for women over 50 working full-time is twice as high as it is for younger women, with nearly half of women over 50 being in part-time work, where the average annual wage is under £10,000 a year.;
  • 49% care for at least one of their own parents, while 39% are caring for their own children. In addition, 21% look after their grandchildren, while 13% also care for another elderly relative, and 9% care for a disabled husband, wife or partner; and
  • with the majority of women aged 50-64 employed in public administration, education and health, the threat of redundancy is a major concern, especially as the public sector is set to lose 1.1 million jobs by 2018-19.
The TUC report calls on employers to have a more enlightened attitude to these caring responsibilities. Among other things, the report calls for the introduction of several new rights, including (1) five to ten days of paid carers’ leave per year; (2) unpaid leave entitlement, similar to parental leave, specifically for grandparents, and (3) statutory adjustment leave for sudden changes to caring responsibilities and crisis situations.

Source: Trade Union Congress Media Release (February 27, 2014)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

United Kingdom: Study Calls for Upping Retirement Age, Saying Pension System Creates Incentives for Early Retirement

A report issued by the Institute of Economic Affairs says that recent United Kingdom government commitments to continue to increase state pension expenditure in real terms are both unaffordable and irresponsible, and that the government must accelerate the introduction of a later retirement age and urgently reform labor market regulations to enable people to work longer.

According to "Income from Work—The Fourth Pillar of Income Provision in Old Age" by Gabriel Sahlgren, the current state pension system is "incentivising" early retirement, and that employment protection legislation raises unemployment at older ages, including before state pension age. Furthermore, later retirement benefits the individual through improved health and higher incomes, and benefits taxpayers by reducing the costs of ageing populations.

The report makes ten recommendations to "ease the state pension time bomb," including:
  • accelerating the rise in retirement age, suggesting that, from November 2018, the state pension age for men and women should increase by two months every quarter, which would get the pension age to 68 by January 2023;
  • linking retirement with life expectancy from January 2023;
  • exempting older workers from employment protection legislation, which would encourage employers to take on older workers and also enable greater labor mobility and flexible working patterns; and
  • introducing a pilot scheme to exempt older workers from age discrimination laws.
Source: Institute of Economic Affairs Press Release (January 8, 2014)

Reaction: "Actuaries Buck Consultants have disagreed with the ‘dramatic’ rise in state pension age proposed by the Institute of Economic Affairs, saying changes must be balanced to protect those close to retirement." See The Actuary (January 14, 2014)

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Research Published on Relationship in United States of Education and Wages Among Older Employees

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) reports that research it has conducted finds that higher education pays off for women and men for all ages 50 and older, including for the oldest group studied, those 75 and older. According to "How Education Pays Off for Older Americans," by Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., and Jeff Hayes, Ph.D., those with higher levels of education—meaning those with at least some education beyond high school—work more at older ages and earn more per hour at older ages, relative to those with less education. However, women earn less at every age and education level than men, and often earn about the same as men who are at the educational level below them.

Among other things, the report finds that:
  • Estimated earnings of older Americans age 65 until their eventual retirement are three to almost five times higher for those with advanced degrees compared to those with only high school or less (and two to almost three times higher for those with Bachelor’s degrees).
  • The largest occupations for older women and men reveal considerable gender differences. Not only is there little overlap in the largest occupations for men and women aged 50 and older—only retail salespersons appear in the women’s and men’s lists of their ten largest occupations—but the occupations in which older men work pay more.
  • For those aged 75 and older, several very high wage occupations are among the most common for men: physicians and surgeons (at $64.54 per hour), lawyers and judges (at $59.13 per hour), and chief executives and legislators (at $48.00 per hour). For older women of the same age group, the highest paying occupation in the top ten list is secretary and receptionist at $15.37 per hour.
Source: Institute for Women's Policy Research Press Release (January 2, 2014)

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

BLS Finds Older Workers Have Less Severe Injuries, but Miss More Work Days for Recovery

According to an analysis of data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, older workers are less likely to have severe work injuries, but they miss more work days to recover. Specifically, while the overall rate of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work to recuperate was 112 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2012, down from 117 cases in 2011, and the median days away from work—a key measure of severity of injuries and illnesses was 9 days in 2012, workers aged 65 and older had the lowest incidence rate at 89 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, but they required the longest time away from work to recover: a median of 14 days.

Drawing on BLS's "Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days away from Work, 2012," it was also reported that workers ages 45 to 54 had the most cases of injuries and illnesses of any age group, with 293,700 cases in 2012, and had the highest incidence rate--121.7 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. Their median days away from work for these workers to recover was 11 days.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics TED: The Editor's Desk (December 30, 2013)