Saturday, March 28, 2015

OECD Encourages Poland To Promote Longer Working Lives as Vital to Improving Poland’s Future Prosperity

According to the latest OECD report on aging societies, while the percentage of old to younger groups is projected to nearly triple from 22% in 2012 to 63% in 2050 in Poland, the proportion of older people in Poland who are working still remains well below the average for OECD countries. Thus, the OECD concludes in "Working Better with Age in Poland" that "further reforms to encourage active aging and longer working lives are needed in Poland. Employers need to do more to improve working conditions for older workers and reduce the large gender gap in employment.”

The OECD found that, in 2013, the employment rate of 55-64 year olds was 41%, compared with the OECD average of 55%, and it was only 9% for the age group 65-69, compared with the OECD average of nearly 20%. Among its recommendations, the OECD says Poland should:
  • Help more women stay longer in the labour market. Further development of care facilities is required to help older women combine work with family responsibilities. Women’s labour market conditions and future pensions should be reformed.
  • Concentrate on preventive measures in occupational health services. Local health services should also have prevention and early identification of health risks as priorities.
  • Make social dialogue a driving force in the design and implementation of policies to prolong working lives, for example, through projects in the “Solidarity Across Generations” programme, which was renewed in 2013.
  • Align employment protection legislation (EPL) across all age groups by abolishing the special protection rules for older workers. This should however be combined with reinforced active labour market measures for older jobseekers to facilitate their quick reintegration into employment.
Source: OECD Press Release (March 27, 2015)

Friday, March 20, 2015

AARP Report Reviews Importance of Workforce Development Programs to Older Workers

The AARP Public Policy Institute has issued a report reviewing public workforce development programs in the United States over the last eighty years with a special emphasis on their importance to older Americans. In "Selected Public Workforce Development Programs in the United States Lessons Learned for Older Workers," Stephen A. Wandner (Urban Institute and W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research), David E. Balducchi (W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and Wandner and Associates, Inc.), and Christopher J. O’Leary (W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research) paid attention is paid to services benefitting dislocated workers—that is, experienced adults permanently separated from their prior employers.

The report suggests some policy options to increase the availability and effectiveness of services for older jobseekers making use of the American Job Center Network. These suggestions relate to employment services, training, reemployment bonuses, and public service employment, among other things.

Source: AARP Public Policy Institute New Reports (March 18, 2015)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Singapore: Budget Announcement Includes Increased Subsidies to, and Payments by, Employers for Older Workers

According the Ministry of Manpower, the Budget Statement delivered by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, contains two measures related to the hiring of older workers. First, starting January 2016, there will be an increase in the Central Provident Fund (CPF) salary ceiling and an increase in CPF contribution rates for older worker, with an additional 1% Extra Interest on the first $30,000 of CPF balances from the age of 55 also being introduced. See "Factsheet on CPF changes to help Singaporeans save more for retirement."

Second, support will be provided to businesses as they continue to restructure. The Temporary Employment Credit (TEC) will be raised to 1% of wages in 2015, or an additional 0.5 percentage points on top of the original TEC. The TEC will also be extended by 2 years, to help employers adjust to cost increases associated with the increase in CPF salary ceiling and the employer CPF contribution rates for older workers. In addition, employers who re-employ older workers aged 65 and above will receive an additional offset of up to 3% of an employee’s monthly wages through the Special Employment Credit (SEC). The SEC enhancement would help manage employers’ overall costs and encourage employers to voluntarily re-employ older workers aged 65 and above. See "Factsheet on the Extension and Enhancement of the TEC and Enhancement of the SEC."

Source: Ministry of Manpower MOM Announcements in Budget Statement 2015 (February 23, 2015)

In the Press: The Straits Times "Older staff may have to forgo pay rise for more retirement savings" (February 27, 2015); "Tight labour market means firms need older workers despite cost hike" (February 27, 2015)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

AARP Public Policy Institute Issues Report on Skills Training and Education for Older Workers

The AARP Public Policy Institute has issued a report written by Carl Van Horn, Kathy Krepcio and Maria Heidkamp of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, which explores a range of issues relating to skills training and education for older workers, including the challenges older workers face when deciding whether to enroll in education and training programs, and, if so, how to choose a program and pay for it. "Improving Education and Training for Older Workers" make several recommendations based on its findings related to the vast array of education and training options available to older workers, as well as education and training financing options available to them.

Among other things, the report found that:
  • Many older unemployed workers lack the skills that are currently in demand.
  • Many older job seekers are not well informed about the skills they will need to
    obtain a job or the best and most cost-effective way to obtain them.
  • Many federal and state workforce programs are not targeted to the needs of adult and working learners.
The report's recommendations include:
  • Government policy makers should insist on greater transparency from training providers and require them to report on the cost, duration, completion rates, and employment and earnings outcomes.
  • Congress should reform financial aid programs to better assist older workers, including requiring educational institutions to improve financial aid counseling for adult learners from qualified, independent third parties.
  • The tax system could be reformed to provide more financial support for older workers, such as expanding tax credits and deductions for education-related expenses such as transportation, childcare, and elder care.
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute News Release (February 25, 2015)

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