Thursday, June 21, 2018

United Kingdom: Survey Finds 72% of Workers Working Past Retirement Age

The proportion of United Kingdom employees who say they will work beyond the age of 65 remains at 72% for the second year running--but significantly higher than in 2016 (67%) and 2015 (61%)--according to the latest research from Canada Life. In addition, the survey finds:
  • 47% of UK employees will be older than 70 before they retire, up from 37% in 2017
  • Those at the peak of their financial responsibilities aged 35-44 are feeling the squeeze the most, with 27% expecting to retire after their 75th birthday
  • 35% believe that older workers will have to learn new skills or retrain to remain employed but 41% think that a mix of older and younger employees creates a wider range of skills to draw on
Paul Avis, Marketing Director of Canada Life Group Insurance, comments:
The combination of an increase in the cost of living, poor returns on savings and inflation continue to impact the UK’s retirement plans. This is the second year in a row that our findings indicate that more than 70% of the country’s workforce expect to work beyond the age of 65, and there is no sign that this trend will slow down any time soon.

But even as an older workforce becomes more common, the stigma surrounding older workers is proving hard to shake. Employers now have the opportunity to capitalise on the skills of two or even three generations, but only if they address potential generational divides and the changing needs of their employees.

Source: Canada Life News Release (June 20, 2018)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Iceland, New Zealand and Israel are Leaders in Boosting Employment Rates among Older Workers: PwC Reports

PwC has released it 2018 Golden Age Index and reports that Iceland, New Zealand and Israel are the leaders in boosting employment rates among older workers. In addition, the report finds that extending people’s working lives to reflect the aging of their populations could release massive untapped value for their economies to the tune of US$3.5 trillion across the OECD as a whole in the long run.
Current employment rates for workers aged 55-64 vary dramatically across the OECD, from 84% in Iceland and 78% in New Zealand to 38% in Greece and 34% in Turkey.

For example, increasing the over-55 employment rate to New Zealand levels could deliver a long-run economic boost worth around US$815 billion in the US, US$406 billion in France and US$123 billion in Japan - with the total potential gain across the OECD adding up to around US$3.5 trillion. This economic uplift would be combined with significant social and health benefits from older people leading more active lives and having higher self-worth through continuing to work where they wish to do so.
John Hawksworth, Chief Economist at PwC UK, comments PwC thinks "older workers should be encouraged and supported to remain in the workforce for longer. This would increase GDP, consumer spending power and tax revenues, while also helping to improve the health and wellbeing of older people by keeping them mentally and physically active." In particular, PwC notes that "[s]uccessful policy measures include increasing the retirement age, supporting flexible working, improving the flexibility of pensions, and providing further training and support help older workers become 'digital adopters.'"
The findings from [PwC's rigorous statistical analysis of the underlying drivers of higher employment rates for older workers across 35 OECD countries] include that financial incentives like pension policy and family benefits can influence people’s decision to stay employed, and that longer life expectancy is associated with longer working lives. The study also shows that flexible working and partial retirement options can pay dividends for employers, as can redesign of factories, offices and roles to meet the changing needs and preferences of older workers.
The Golden Age Index provides additional details for each country evaluated. For example, looking at the United Kingdom, PwC points out that:
  • UK ranks 21st out of 35 countries in PwC’s Golden Age Index
  • Up to 23% of UK jobs currently held by 55+ workers could be displaced by automation technology in the next decade
  • South East of England has highest older worker employment rate in the UK at 75.3% compared to 63.2% in Northern Ireland
Sources: PwC News Release (June 18, 2018); PwC UK News Release (June 18, 2018)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Russia Raising Retirement Age to 65 for Men and 63 for Women

According to published reports, the Russian government has approved a bill on a gradual increase of the retirement age to 65 years for men and 63 years for women. Currently, retirement age is 60 for men, and 55 for women.
According to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the bill "proposes to introduce a sufficiently long transition period - to start from 2019 to gradually reach retirement age of 65 for men in 2028 and 63 years for women in 2034."
Reuters states that "[t]he government is likely to introduce legislation into the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, in the near future to enact the VAT and retirement age changes," and that "[i]t is rare for the Duma, which is controlled by the ruling party, United Russia, to oppose the government on major policy initiatives."

Sources: Reuters "Russia, on quest for budget savings, to raise retirement age" (June 14, 2018); Tass "Russian government approves bill to raise retirement age" (June 14, 2018); CNBC "Russian government plans VAT hike and raising the retirement age" (June 14, 2018);

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Study Finds Women Retiring Early Creates Gender Gap in Social Security Wealth

The National Bureau of Economic Research has released a study showing that the the pattern of women tending to marry men who are older and then retiring at the same time as their husbands contributes to a substantial gender gap in Social Security wealth [SSW].

In "The Return to Work and Women's Employment Decisions" (NBER Working Paper No. 24429), Nicole Maestas reports that "the opportunity cost of retirement—-in terms of foregone potential earnings and accruals to Social Security wealth—-may be larger for married women than for their husbands," and that using the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), she finds "evidence that the returns to additional work beyond mid-life are greater for married women than for married men. The potential gain in Social Security wealth alone is enough to place married women on nearly equal footing with married men in terms of Social Security wealth at age 70."
For both female cohorts, real earnings increased until age 55 and began to decline at age 57. Men's earnings, on the other hand, continuously decreased from ages 51 to 61. In addition, women's earnings increased by 31 percent across cohorts, but men's earnings increased only 10 percent. So the gender earnings gap shrinks as individuals age into retirement.

For both cohorts, women were more likely than men to retire "early" — before age 62 — or move from full- to part-time employment. In the boomer cohort, 47 percent of women retired or reduced work early, but only 41 percent of men did so.

...

When ranked by the amount of additional SSW they would receive if they worked to age 70, married women in the top quartile would gain an average of over $36,000, compared with only $1,300 for those in the bottom quartile. Despite these potentially significant differences in the financial consequences of early retirement, Maestas finds that the early retirement rate among women with a lot to gain from continued work is comparable to that for women with relatively little potential gain. "This suggests that individuals do not factor these potential gains into their employment decisions, and it raises the question of whether individuals are able to correctly assess the opportunity costs associated with reducing work effort before age 70."

Source: NBER Digest "Married Women Who Retire Early May Forfeit Social Security Wealth" (June 2018)

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Switzerland: Survey Finds Majority of Employees Retiring before Reaching Retirement Age

According to Swissinfo.ch, the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper has reported that 58% of Swiss employees stop working before the official retirement age in Switzerland. The survey conducted by the Swisscanto pension fund specialist found that only 32% continue to retirement age (65 for men and 64 for women), and just 10% carry on working beyond that age.
NZZ am Sonntag said the high number of people taking early retirement is rather surprising. The trend goes against current political thinking, which is towards raising the retirement age because of funding problems in the state pension scheme. According to the survey, raising the retirement age to over 65 is likely to continue meeting strong public resistance.
...
Swisscanto board member René Raths also expressed concern to the newspaper. He says that longer life expectancy means longer retirement, and that in 2035, there will be only 2.3 working people funding one pensioner, compared with nearly 4 at present.

Source: Swissinfo.ch "Majority of Swiss opt for early retirement, says survey" (June 3, 2018)

Monday, June 04, 2018

Survey of U.S. Workers in Gig Economy Looks to Effect on Retirement

A Betterment survey report has been issued on the impact of the gig economy on the future of retirement in the United States. "Gig Economy Workers and the Future of Retirement" highlights data from a survey of 1,000 U.S. respondents, 25 years and older and working in the gig economy. According to the report, several themes emerged regarding two categories of workers: "full-time giggers"--workers who rely primarily on the gig economy for their income, and "side-hustlers"--individuals who rely on a traditional full-time job as their main source of income but supplement with a side gig economy job.

Most significantly, Betterment reports that for many of those surveyed, the gig economy is replacing their retirement plan:
  • 16% plan to depend on gig economy jobs to supplement their retirement;
  • 12% of side-hustlers will keep a side gig job as their main source of income after retiring from their traditional nine-to-five; and
  • 1 in 5 full-time giggers say they’ll continue to pick up incremental work in the gig economy as their main source of income following “retirement”
In addition, Betterment reports that 81% of gig economy workers say they can’t afford to prioritize saving for retirement. In fact, more than half of gig economy workers "turn to this new way of working for financial reasons, not just for the freedom and flexibility it provides." Source: Betterment "Survey: Future Retirees May Rely More on the Gig Economy" (May 18, 2018)

United Kingdom: Growing Pay Gap between Younger and Older Workers

The Trades Union Congress has released a report finding that, in the United Kingdom, the "generational pay gap"--the gap between the average earnings of 21-30 year-olds and 31-64 year-olds working an average 40-hour week--has increased in real terms from £3,140 in 1998 to £5,884 in 2017. In "Stuck at the start: Young workers' impressions of pay and progression," the TUC finds that
  1. young workers are disproportionately affected by wage stagnation
  2. young workers are concentrated in low-paying jobs
  3. young workers do not have access to the skills development to get on at work
  4. young workers are especially vulnerable to insecure work
  5. young workers have no voice at work
The report also found that the overrepresentation of today’s young workers in certain industries has worsened the generational pay gap: "Jobs growth has been generally slower for younger workers than for older workers in the past two decades, but the growth that has taken place has been heavily concentrated in five industries: education; health and social care; hotels and hospitality; real estate, renting and business activities; and wholesale and retail."

Beyond raising the minimum wage, the TUC recommends that the government, among other things, (1) develop a strategy to improve wages, productivity, skills development and conditions in low-paid industries, by setting up modern wages councils that can require employers to act; and (2) give all workers, including young workers, the right to time off for training. It also recommends that employers "create genuinely flexible, well-paid, part-time work at all levels of an organisation, particularly for supervisory and managerial roles, so that parents do not have to give up spending quality time with family just to make ends meet."

Source: Trades Union Congress Press Release (June 4, 2018)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Study: Workers and Retirees See a Crumbling Social Contract for Retirement

Almost half of today’s workers and retirees believe that future generations of retirees will be worse off than those currently in retirement (49 percent globally, 46 percent U.S.), according to a study released by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS). In "The New Social Contract: a blueprint for retirement in the 21st century,"
workers and retirees in 15 countries spanning the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia were asked about global trends that are impacting their plans for retirement. The most frequently cited trends were:
  • Reductions in government benefits (38% global, 26% U.S.)
  • Increased life expectancy (27% global, 25% U.S.)
  • Volatility in financial markets follows (24% global, 22% U.S.)
  • Changes in labor markets (21% global, 14% U.S.)
  • Prolonged low interest rate environment (20% global, 14% U.S.)
The survey report was a collaboration among TCRS, the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement (ACLR), and the Instituto de Longevidade Mongeral Aegon. According to Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of Transamerica Institute and TCRS: "People are living longer than any time in history and birthrates are declining. This phenomenon known as ‘population aging’ is financially straining government-sponsored retirement benefits. Simultaneously, employers have been replacing traditional defined benefit pension plans with employee-funded defined contribution retirement plans." Thus, "individuals are expected to take on increasing risk and responsibility in self-funding a greater portion of their retirement income."

Source: Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies Press Release (May 29, 2018)

Monday, May 28, 2018

Singapore: Manpower Ministry Announces New Workgroup on Older Workers

In her speech at Workplan Seminar, Mrs. Josephine Teo, Singapore's Minister for Manpower, addressed strengthening tripartism, and announced that, in focusing on her first initiative concerns--older workers--she would be convening a Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers. As about one in three of our resident workforce today is aged 50 and above, and older workers have anxieties about the future, particularly as technology disrupts businesses and jobs, the Workgroup would focus on:
  • Ensuring an inclusive workforce and progressive workplaces that values older workers;
  • Reviewing the longer-term relevance of the retirement and re-employment age;
  • Considering the next moves on the retirement and re-employment age; and
  • Examining the CPF contribution rates for older workers and their impact on retirement adequacy.
In her speech, Teo also talked about falling fertility rates in other countries and rising participation rates by older workers and raised three questions, which the Workgroup presumably would be addressing:
  1. With respect to the international definition of “working-age”, should we continue to assume that most people do not work beyond age 64?
  2. If so many countries will have older populations, how can we turn this into a competitive edge for our economy and society? How to make longevity = opportunity for Singapore?
  3. For employers, if TFR is falling and populations are ageing, how can we help them adjust their HR strategies to better tap the senior workforce?
Source: Ministry of Manpower Speech at Workplan Seminar (May 28, 2018) Additional sources: Channel News Asia"New tripartite workgroup to study concerns of older workers" (May 28, 2018); The Straits Times "New work group on older workers to look at policies including retirement age and CPF rates" (May 28, 2018); Today "CPF contribution rates for older workers, relevance of retirement age to be reviewed: Josephine Teo" (May 28, 2018)

Saturday, May 26, 2018

EBRI Research Shows Continuing Impact of Baby Boomers on Labor Force

Research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) shows that the baby-boom generation has created a wave of sorts moving through the U.S. labor force for the last four decades. According to "Labor Force Participation Rates by Age and Gender and the Age and Gender Composition of the U.S. Civilian Labor Force and Adult Population," published as Research Brief No. 449, as boomers have entered each age demographic, that group has become the largest component of the population and of the labor force, and that, now, as the last of the Baby Boomers enter their mid 50s, and as they are living longer than prior generations, their impact on the age of the U.S. population and labor force is unmistakable.

Among other findings in the paper authored by Craig Copeland:
  • While the portion of the total labor force ages 55 or older continued to increase since 2007, the uptick has been primarily attributable to the continued aging of the baby boom generation into these ages, and not to an increasing percentage of older workers remaining in the labor force. Before 2007, the increasing share of workers ages 55 or older was due, both to increases in the labor force participation rates for these ages and to the large baby boom generation beginning to reach these ages.
  • From the employer perspective, the increase in the share of individuals ages 55 or older in the population and in the labor force means that employers have been, and will continue to be, challenged to provide benefits that meet the needs of these older workers, while still meeting the needs of younger workers who are starting to grow as a share of the labor force.
  • The share of the labor force that is ages 55 or older will continue to grow in the short term because of the size of the baby boom generation, but will begin to shrink as the next generation of workers reach age 55.
  • Many employers are likely to be faced with a bimodal labor force distribution across the ages–larger numbers of both older and younger workers with fewer numbers of workers at ages in between–which presents different (and possibly incompatible) compensation and benefit challenges.
Source: EBRI Press Release (May 22, 2018)

Friday, May 25, 2018

Slovakia Ruling Party Seeking Constitutional Amendment To Cap Retirement Age at 64

According to press reports, Slovakia’s ruling Smer party is proposing a constitutional change to cap the retirement age at 64, reversing a decision that had tied it to average life expectancy. Under current law, the retirement age was set at 62 years, 76 days, in 2071, and it will be extended by 63 days this year, and continue to rise every year as people live longer.

From the Slovak Spectator:
“If we do not cap the retirement age, children born this year will retire at the age of 71,” said Robert Fico, leader of Smer and former prime minister, after negotiating the capping of the retirement age with trade unions and Labour Minister Ján Richter on May 16. “We cannot simply accept this.”

The Reuters story explains:
Smer, a leftist party, originally wanted the cap at 65 years but now wants it lower after talks with centre-right junior coalition Slovak National Party.

A third coalition partner, the centrist Most-Hid party, does not back the measure but some opposition lawmakers said they were open to negotiations. Smer would need 90 votes in the 150-member parliament to pass the law as a constitutional measure.

According to calculations by an independent budget watchdog Budget Responsibility Council (RRZ), the pension age is expected to reach the cap of 65 after 2038.

Sources: Reuters "Slovak ruling party seeks to cap retirement age at 64" (May 24, 2018); Slovak Spectator "Retirement age may be capped in Slovakia" (May 17, 2018)

Finland: OEDC Working Paper Calls for Narrowing Extended Unemployment Benefits for Older Workers

An OECD working paper finds that, different working-age benefits in Finland reduce work incentives and hold back employment. In Pareliussen, J. and H. Hwang (2018), "Benefit reform for employment and equal opportunity in Finland", OECD Economics Department Working Papers, No. 1467, OECD Publishing, Paris, Finland's extended unemployment benefit for older workers are one of several major disincentives being called out for replacement.

As pointed out in the working paper:
In Finland, those aged above 61 on the day their unemployment insurance expires qualify for extended unemployment benefits until the statutory pension age (the “unemployment tunnel”). The unemployment tunnel increases inflows to unemployment substantially, as employers tend to target dismissals to eligible individuals, and because eligible workers may voluntarily choose to use the tunnel. Furthermore, the tunnel reduces outflows from unemployment, as extended eligibility to unemployment benefits discourages job-search. The tunnel is often used as a bridge to ECO/WKP(2018)15 31 retirement, in practice extending benefit eligibility indefinitely. Indeed, the incidence of unemployment peaks at the age of 62, and the unemployed aged 62 or more tend not to search for jobs (Kyyrä and Pesola, 2017; OECD Economic Survey of Finland, 2016).
While pension reform is increasing the retirement age, its effects are not as significant as they could be because the tunnel hasn't narrowed as much:
A pension reform taking effect in 2017 raises the statutory pension age gradually from 63 to 65 years before linking it to life expectancy from 2030onwards,and increases the age threshold for the unemployment tunnel from 61 to 62 years. Increasing the pension age has put the pension system on a sustainable trajectory, but ageing costs are still expected to show up in unemployment, health and longterm care expenditures. The reform is expected to raise the average retirement age by one year, but only increase time in employment by five months due to higher unemployment.

Source: OECD Working Papers (May 25, 2018)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Latin America: Older Worker Participation Rates Driven by Lack of Access to Contributory Retirement Systems

A joint publication issued by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the International Labor Organization indicates that the lack of retirement income forces many men and women over 60 in the region to remain active in the labor market. In edition No. 18 of the "Employment Situation in Latin America and the Caribbean (May 2018)," it was found that the lack of income from a contributory pension system in more than half of all men, and above all in women, aged 60 or over in Latin America, is the main factor for remaining active in the labor market.

According to projections made by the organizations, the proportion of people aged 60 or older in the workforce will rise from 7.5% to 15% between 2015 and 2050. This is due, above all, to the aging of the population and, to a lesser degree, a moderate increase in older adults’ labor participation.
Despite recent advances in employment formalization and the expansion of contributory pension systems, according to data from eight countries in the region an average 57.7% of people between 65 and 69 years of age, and 51.8% of people 70 or older, still do not receive a pension from a contributory system, with even higher rates seen for women. This situation forces many older people to work: the employment rate for all people 60 years or older totals 35.4% in the region, the study indicates. This proportion is elevated even in age groups that have already exceeded the legal retirement age: 39.3% in the group from 65 to 69 and 20.4% in the segment of 70 years or older. The rates are higher in countries with low coverage of contributory pension systems, the report explains.
Accordingly, Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, and José Manuel Salazar, ILO Regional Director, indicate in the publication’s foreword that "It is necessary to expand pension system coverage and supplement it with non-contributory pensions to reduce the pressure on older people to continue working, usually in low-productivity jobs, just to have a minimum standard of living at an age when societies should guarantee them the conditions to enjoy their old age with dignity."

Source: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean Press Release (May 22, 2018)

European Commission Recommends that Luxembourg Work To Increase Employment Rate of Older Workers

The European Commission's 2018 Country-Specific Recommendation (CSR’s) on Luxembourg call for increasing "the employment rate of older people by enhancing their employment opportunities and employability while further limiting early retirement, with a view to also improving the long-term sustainability of the pension system."

According to the Commission:
The employment rate of older people remains particularly low and further measures
are needed to improve their employability and labour market opportunities. This is
also important to ensure the long-term sustainability of public finances. Early
retirement schemes encouraging workers to leave employment remain widespread,
with 59.2 % of newly attributed pensions being early old-age pensions. A law
suppressing one early retirement scheme was passed in December 2017 but its net
impact on the average effective retirement age and on expenditure is uncertain as it
eases conditions on other early retirement schemes. This poor labour market outcome
can also be partly attributed to financial disincentives to work, which are
comparatively high for this group. Encouraging the employment of older workers
requires a comprehensive strategy including measures to help workers remain in active
employment for longer. The ‘Age Pact’, a draft law submitted to Parliament in April
2014, which aims to encourage firms with more than 150 employees to hire and retain
older workers through age management measures, is still pending in Parliament. As
regards education, Luxembourg needs to address the strong impact of students'
socioeconomic background on their education outcomes. This is also important to
respond to the strong demand for highly specialised skills.
Additional Source: Luxembourg Times "Brussels urges Luxembourg to create jobs for older workers" (May 23, 2018)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Malta Rejects European Commission Recommendation To Increase Retirement Age

In response to the European Commission’s Country-Specific Recommendation (CSR’s) on Malta’s 2018 National Reform Programme, the Maltese Government has stated that it "is committed to retain free health care for its citizens and to continue to work towards a more sustainable pension system without changing the pensionable age." In the CSR, the European Community recommended that, in 2018, and 2019, Malta "{e]nsure the sustainability of the health care and the pension systems, including by increasing the statutory retirement age and by restricting early retirement." According to the Community:
The pension system faces the dual challenge of achieving sustainability while ensuring adequate retirement incomes. The long-term sustainability prospects for pension expenditure have improved, mainly thanks to a more positive assessment of Malta’s long-term growth potential. However, the measures introduced in the 2016 budget had only a limited impact on long-term sustainability of the pension system, which therefore remains a significant challenge.

Source: Government of Malta Press Release (May 23, 2018)

Additional source: Times of Malta "Investors may be deterred by shortcomings fighting corruption - EU" (May 23, 2018)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

United Kingdom: Prime Minister Includes Aging Workforce among "Grand Challenges" Facing UK

In a speech on science and modern industrial strategy at Jodrell Bank, Prime Minister May spoke about the aging workforce as one of the "grand challenges" facing the United Kingdom, each leading to a mission outlined as part of the government's "Industrial Strategy." As May said, "We know that our society here in the UK, and in other developed countries around the world, is getting older – creating new demands and opportunities," and "through our healthy ageing grand challenge, we will ensure that people can enjoy five extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035, whilst narrowing the gap between the experience of the richest and poorest."

Specifically, with respect to employment, May said: "Employers can help, by meeting the needs of people who have caring responsibilities and by doing more to support older people to contribute in the workplace--and enjoy the emotional and physical benefits of having a job if they want one." However, the policy paper issued at the same time as her speech provides no additional details of how the :mission will help support people to remain at work for longer."

In an article on her speech, Miriam Kenner reports:
Anna Dixon, chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, welcomed May’s “commitment to increasing people’s quality of life in older age”, and reducing the “scandalous gap in healthy life expectancy between the richest and poorest in our society”.

"As we live longer, we also need to work for longer,” she added. “All employers need to adopt age-inclusive practices.

“Too many older workers are leaving the labour market prematurely at great cost to them personally, as well as the state.”

Source: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development "Prime minister calls on employers to do more to support ageing workforce" (May 21, 2018)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Webcast Explores Workers' Comp and Managing Aging Workforce Risks

Marsh's Workers' Compensation Center of Excellence presented a webcast, in which panelists discussed a number of strategies organizations can adopt to help create healthier workforces, which can contribute to safer workplaces. During the webcast, the panel discussed:
  • How an industrial athlete approach can improve the conditioning of employees.
  • Physical changes that occur as workers age and their implications for workplace safety programs.
  • How to reduce injury rates for older workers.
According to a report on the webcast:
“I would argue that the same risk factors exist for employees regardless of age,” said David Damico, Atlanta-based vice president and senior ergonomics consultant with Marsh Risk Consulting. “That said, certain risk factors such as force, repetition (and) environmental concerns can become more prevalent as we age.”
In addition, Gary Anderberg, senior vice president–claims analytics, Gallagher Bassett Services Inc., is quoted as saying:
Older workers “know what they’re doing.” .... “They know what to avoid, where not to put their fingers and their toes, for example. The most dangerous time for any employee is generally the first year on the job when they’re still learning to work safely. But when they do suffer workplace injuries, for older employees, the medical indemnity costs can be higher, the cost of treatment can be higher in part because the comorbidities older workers tend to have can complicate recovery.”
Source: Marsh's Workers' Compensation Center of Excellence Webcast (May 16, 2018) Additional Sources: Business Insurance "Aging workforce has positive benefits, but injury risks loom" (May 17, 2018); Property & Casualty "Understand the unique risks that come with employing older workers" (June 5, 2018)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Czech Republic: IMF Consultation Report Suggests Raising Retirement Age Will Aid Economy

As part of its staff concluding statement of the 2018 Article IV Mission to the Czech Republic, the International Monetary Fund--in reporting that the Czech economy is growing strongly, but that the challenge is to sustain stable growth through the cycle and over the long term--suggests that raising the retirement age will ease economic pressures. Thus, the report states that:
  • Stresses on the pension system are manageable with increases in retirement age.
  • Employment has risen very strongly, to rates now above the EU average. But policies can encourage further increases in participation of underrepresented groups. Further increases in retirement age would mitigate the decline in the working age population.
  • The framework for life-long learning should be enhanced, given an aging workforce that will be retiring later in life.
Source: International Monetary Fund Mission Concluding Statement (May 16, 2018)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Research Finds that Employer Initiatives Can Reduce Stress in Older Workers

According to a Portland State University study, Older workers tend to feel more stress than younger workers when their employers don't provide them with the support and resources needed to do their jobs well. In "Do resources matter for employee stress? It depends on how old you are," published online in the April issue of Journal of Vocational Behavior, the authors--Lale M. Yaldiz, Donald M. Truxillo, Todd Bodner, and Leslie B. Hammer--found that both younger and older workers had lower levels of overall stress when they were given more autonomy on the job, had good relationships with their bosses and felt they were respected and treated fairly at work. But when such resources were lacking, older workers reported significantly higher stress levels a year later than their younger colleagues.
"These are things that employers should provide to all employees, but may be especially important for older employees," Truxillo said. "You don't want to have a company policy that says, 'We treat young people this way and old people that way,' but it does show you that age-sensitive human resource systems should be in place where you maybe train managers on how to be aware of the needs of their different workers."
Among other things, the study recommends:
  • Rather than require that employees complete tasks a certain way, employers should, when possible, give workers the flexibility to bring their different skill sets, strengths and years of accumulated job experience to the table
  • Training for supervisors should emphasize leadership skills about how to build strong relationships with workers of all ages so they feel like trusted and valued members of their team
  • Since older workers appear to be more susceptible to stress in the face of unfairness, organizations can help workers by being transparent about how decisions are made and implemented, not discriminating, valuing employee input when making key decisions and providing channels for employees to voice concerns.
Source: Portland State University Press Release (May 14, 2018)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

United Kingdom: Research Suggests Higher Proportion of Older Workers Can Lower Overall Productivity

A research paper finds that, in the United Kingdom, the higher the proportion of over 50s in the workforce in a local authority area, the lower the overall level of productivity. In "Does ageing matter when it comes to workforce productivity?," the International Longevity Centre–UK suggests that this "may be because work suffers from diminishing returns: that for every additional year worked, there is a relatively smaller gain in output."

The paper also argues that whilst rising life expectancy and other factors might raise the age at which productivity peaks, the broad shape of a worker’s lifetime productivity curve is likely to remain, so that a higher share of older workers will likely drag down overall levels of productivity.

According to Ben Franklin, the Centre's Assistant Director of Research and Policy:
With reference to English Local Authority data, this report provides support to both prevailing conclusions in the economic literature regarding the impacts of ageing on productivity. An older workforce may be a drag on output, but an ageing population could raise the rate of productivity growth.

In any case, investment in education and health are likely to remain critical drivers of long run productivity. Both are strongly correlated with the productivity performance of local authorities in our analysis, and focusing on the health and education of the workforce, irrespective of age, is therefore likely to support higher levels of economic output.

Source: International Longevity Centre–UK Press Release (May 11, 2018)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Gerontological Society of America Issues Report on Longevity Economy

The Gerontological Society of America has issued a report showing that older Americans will be key to the nation’s future economic health, but the public and private sectors must adapt to these demographic realities. Among other things, “Longevity Economics: Leveraging the Advantages of an Aging Society” addresses the workplace, noting that older Americans, as producers:
may be employed in full-time or part-time positions, self-employed (consultants, contractors, freelancers, olderpreneurs), volunteers, or caregivers. To maximize the impact of older people, ageism must be eliminated and opportunities created in the workplace; older workers must be valued for the depth of their knowledge and experience, and for their dedication to the enterprise and desire to remain engaged with chosen careers. The benefits go both ways; studies show an association between continuing to work and better cognitive function in late middle-aged and older people.

Source: Gerontological Society of America Press Release (May 10, 2018)

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Research Lays Out Framework for Productive Aging at Work

In an article in the May Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Paul A. Schulte, James Grosch, Juliann C. Scholl, and Sara L. Tamers of The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, present evidence supporting a framework for productive aging at work, with the goals of maintaining productivity in older workers and preparing younger generations to remain healthy and productive as they age. See "Framework for Considering Productive Aging at Work," in which they conclude that the productive aging framework provides a foundational and comprehensive approach for addressing the aging workforce.

According to NIOSH's National Center for Productive Aging and Work, "productive aging" is an approach that emphasizes the positive aspects of growing older and how individuals can make important contributions to their own lives, their communities and organizations, and society as a whole. In the context of work, productive aging involves providing a safe and healthy work environment for everyone through comprehensive strategies that allow workers to function optimally at all ages.
Four attributes of the Center's approach to productive aging include:

A Life-Span Perspective that considers the patterns of change and transition that occur in different domains (e.g., biological/physical, cognitive, social) from the first day on the job to the last. This perspective extends the concept of productive aging to workers of all ages and views the aging process as dynamic, adaptive, and influenced by the environment.

A Comprehensive and Integrated Framework for improving worker safety, health and well-being in a coordinated program that utilizes a range of education and intervention strategies. These strategies draw from a growing knowledge base of factors that have particular significance for an aging workforce where people are working longer (e.g., ergonomics, injury prevention, chronic disease management, healthy lifestyles, workplace flexibility, etc.).

Outcomes that Recognize the Priorities of Both Workers and Organizations. A productive aging approach targets both types of outcomes with the understanding that each type of outcome can potentially influence the other. These outcomes may range from improving safety and well-being (worker-centered) to reducing health care costs and maintaining job performance (organization-centered).

A Supportive Work Culture for Multi-Generational Issues that arise when up to four generations (World War II Generation, 1925-1945; Baby Boom Generation, 1946-1964; Generation X, 1965-1980; Millennial Generation, 1981-2001) are working side-by-side. Although often subtle, differences between generations can include attitudes toward work and supervision, preferred communication style, training needs, and work habits. Learning to manage these differences and build upon the unique strengths of each generation creates an inclusive workplace culture that also contributes to productive aging.
Source: Press Release Newswire (May 7, 2018)

Monday, May 07, 2018

Switzerland: President Pushes for Tax Hike To Solve Pension Problem, Not Raising Retirement Age

In an interview with Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Swiss President (and Home Affairs Minister) Alain Berset has defended his proposed pension reform plans, which include a 1.7% increase in valued-added tax (VAT) to fund it. As reported in SwissInfo.ch, Berset specifically said that fixing a general retirement age will not solve the problem because companies will not employ older workers.
“Older workers continue to be disadvantaged. But it is true that, due to demographic changes and the shortage of skilled workers, they will be in greater demand in the future. Rigid fixation on a generally higher retirement age is the wrong approach. If we give the right incentives, more people will work longer voluntarily. The aim must be to raise the effective retirement age,” the minister told [the newspaper].

Source: "Berset pushes for tax-hike to solve pension problems' SwissInfo.ch (May 7, 2018)

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

UK Report Finds that Employers Provide Inadequate Support for Older Workers with Health Conditions

The United Kingdom's Centre for Ageing Better has issued a research report showing that employers are not properly supporting older workers experiencing long-term physical and mental health conditions. According to "Health warning for employers: Supporting older workers with health conditions," older workers are more likely than younger workers to be managing multiple long-term conditions, and health conditions are the main driver of older workers exiting the labor market before they reach state pension age.

In addition, the report found that disclosing a health condition to one's employer is a stressful and repeated process. Poor workplace culture and overly bureaucratic procedures result in many people putting off health-related conversations with their employer until absolutely necessary.

The report was written by Jemma Mouland, Senior Programme Manager, based on research conducted for the Centre for Ageing Better by YouGov and Mustard Research.

Among other things, the report recommends that employers should:
- Normalise conversations around health at work and create a supportive, empathetic and
open culture around managing health conditions at work.
- Ensure full and equal access to support for health at work, including flexible working
and workplace adjustments for all employees. These adjustments are often small and
inexpensive and employers should provide them proactively and consistently.
- Ensure adjustments and support are sustained.

Source: Centre for Ageing Better News Release (April 26, 2018)

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Issues Guidelines on Discrimination Against Older Workers

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has published new guidelines for employers and employees to seek to ensure that older workers, who wish to continue in employment, are not discriminated against in workplaces in Ireland. The “Guidelines on Retirement and Fixed-Term Contacts” focus on the potential for discrimination arising from the compulsory retirement of staff on reaching a particular age, as well as the offering of fixed-term contracts to persons over that compulsory retirement age.

Among other things, the guidelines consider practical issues that arise from granting fixed-term contracts to employees who are over a compulsory retirement age, and explains how these issues may be addressed by both employers and employees. In addition, they The consider the setting of compulsory retirement ages, and the dismissal of employees who reach that age. Both of these actions are subject to the requirement of “objective justification”. The guidelines explore what “objective justification” means and what the relevant test involves.

Source: Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Press Release (April 30, 2018)

European Community Issues Triennial Pensions Adequacy Report

According to the 2018 Pension Adequacy Report, there are 1.9 million fewer older Europeans at risk of poverty or social exclusion than a decade ago, while the number of older workers in employment has increased by 4.1 million in the last three years alone. However, the report urges that the European Community not be complacent: some 17.3 million or 18.2% of older people (aged 65 and over) in the European Union remain at risk of poverty or social exclusion, an amount that has remained nearly unchanged since 2013.

With respect to older workers, the report's findings include:
11. As people remain on the labour market for longer, the employment in the age
group 55–64 grew by 5.1 percentage points or 4.2 million workers (2.2 million
women and 2 million men) in the years 2013-2016, following the trend of the past
10 years. Later retirement is the most important factor behind the growth in
employment; this is also an effect of pension reforms. The share of pensioners in
this age group strongly decreased, while the share of unemployed and those unable to
work due to illness or disability increased slightly. Gains in older people’s labour
participation can also be attributed to new, better-educated age cohorts replacing
previous ones. Depending on specific country situations, effective policies to boost
participation vary from investing in early education to improving access to lifelong
learning, and from improving health conditions to promoting active ageing and age
management in the workplace.

12. As life expectancy improves, longer working lives will be vital to enable men and
women to acquire adequate pensions. People retiring in 2056 will have lower
pensions compared to their work income than a similar career would have
earned them in 2016. Pension systems can promote longer working lives by adjusting
pensionable ages (e.g. by increasing the statutory retirement age to reflect life
expectancy gains), pension benefits or career length requirements, rewarding later
retirement and discouraging early exit. The strength of (dis-)incentives varies across
countries. At the same time, flexible retirement options, including possibilities to
combine pension with income from work, and tax incentives promoting later
retirement are becoming increasingly widespread.

The 2018 edition of the triennial Pension Adequacy Report ("The 2018 Pension Adequacy Report: current and future income adequacy in old age in the EU") analyses how current and future pensions help prevent old-age poverty and maintain the income of men and women for the duration of their retirement. Volume I is devoted to comparative analysis of pension adequacy in the 28 member states of the the European Community. Volume II provides a more detailed description of the pension system and pension adequacy in each of the 28 states.

Source: European Community Press Release (May 1, 2018)

New Zealand: Research Published on Income Losses for Injured Older Workers

According to University of Otago research, injuries impact on the financial well-being of older workers with substantial lost earnings of between 20% and 30% of their work income, but that the loss in work income is mitigated by public income transfers. Thus, the average total income losses are much less overall at between 3% and 7%.

As authored by Senior Research Fellow at the University of Otago’s Injury Prevention Research Unit, Dr Rebbecca Lilley, and Injury Prevention Research Unit Deputy Director Gabrielle Davie, "Financial impact of injury in older workers: use of a national retrospective e-cohort to compare income patterns over 3 years in a universal injury compensation scheme" highlights the importance of the social welfare safety nets New Zealand currently has.
Using Statistics NZ’s Integrated Data Infrastructure, the researchers identified a cohort of 617,722 workers aged 45 to 64 years, of whom more than 20,000 had a substantial work or non-work injury in 2009. They followed the cohort for three years and found income reduced over that time with the losses greater for those that were injured. In the third year, those injured received on average NZ$2,630 less than the comparison group, equivalent to a seven per cent drop in income.
The authors note that, like many developed nations, New Zealand’s working population is rapidly aging which has implications for the burden of injury and subsequent injury-related disability in New Zealand. By 2023, one in three of New Zealand’s workers will be aged over 45.

Dr Lilley says given the country has an aging population and people are increasingly continuing to work past the traditional retirement age, it is important that workplaces do everything they can to help get people back to work as soon as possible. “Older workers are renowned for being a highly reliable and engaged workforce and given we have a rapidly ageing workforce and future employment shortages, it’s vital that workplaces really engage with improving working conditions to encourage their workers to get back to work more rapidly."

Source: University of Otega News Release (May 1, 2018)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

CareerBuilder Reports More than Half of Workers 60 and Over are Postponing Retirement

According to a survey conducted online by Harris Poll for CareerBuilder, 53% of workers aged 60 and older say they are postponing retirement, with 57% of men putting retirement on hold compared to 48% of women1; 40% of older workers don't think they'll be able to retire until 70 or older.

When asked whether they are putting retirement plans on hold because they are unsure of how much to save, 24% say that they do not know how much they will need to save for retirement. Women are much more likely to be unsure of how much to save than men--31% to 17% percent, respectively.

Source: CareerBuilder Press Release (April 26, 2018)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Japan: Workers over 65 Exceed 8 Million in 2017

As reported by Nippon.com, the 2017 Labor Force Survey conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications shows that the number of employed senior citizens (65 and older) in Japan now exceeds 8.07 million.

Furthermore, older workers increased by 370,000 compared to 2016, bringing the ratio of senior citizens in the overall workforce of 65.3 million to 12.3%, also a record high.

Source: "Senior-Citizen Workers in Japan Top 8 Million" Nippon.com(April 20, 2018)

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Research: Implications of Aging Workforce for Occupational Nurses

According to a paper authored by Mercedia Stevenson White, RN, BSN, CHPN, Candace Burns, PhD, ARNP, and Helen Acree Conlon, DNP, MPH, ARNP-BC, COHN-S, occupational health nurses play a pivot role in implementing best practices for establishing a culture that promotes safe, aging-friendly workplaces. In "The Impact of an Aging Population in the Workplace," they outline the implications of an aging population in the workplace, and discuss benefits, safety concerns, and discriminatory attitudes towards older adults that continue to pursue full-time work well after their retirement years.

Abstract:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people 65 years of age or older living in the United States is projected to double by 2030 to 72 million adults, representing 20% of the total U.S. population. Evidence suggests that older Americans are working longer and spending more time on the job than their peers did in previous years. The increased number of older adults working longer is observed not only in the Unites States but also worldwide. There are numerous ramifications associated with the changing demographics and the expanding prevalence of an aging population in the workforce. Dynamics that arise include stereotyping and discrimination, longevity and on-site expert knowledge, variances in workplace behavior, a multigenerational employee pool, chronic disease management, occupational safety, and the application of adaptive strategies to reduce injury occurrences. Occupational health nurses play a pivotal role in implementing best practices for an aging-friendly workplace.

Source: "The Impact of an Aging Population in the Workplace" Workplace Health & Safety (March 5, 2018)