Friday, July 31, 2015

Research Project Issues State-by-State Scorecards on Economic Readiness for Retirement

The National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) has published an analysis which indicates that Americans in nearly every state will fall far short in meeting their economic needs in retirement. According to "The State Financial Security Scorecards" research project—which gauges the retirement readiness of future retirees in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in three key areas: anticipated retirement income; major retirement costs like housing and healthcare; and labor market conditions for older workers—even the highest-ranking states due to their relatively strong labor markets and lower retiree costs, hare weak in terms of potential retirement income for retirees.

According to Diane Oakley, NIRS executive director:
The retirement savings shortfall has become increasingly important at the state level because policymakers know it can have a deep impact on strained state budgets. The largest source of retirement income for most Americans is Social Security, but this critical federal program typically provides only a part of the income working families need to be self-sufficient. State programs must fill the gap and help Americans meet their most basic needs for food, shelter and medicine. The good news is that some states like California and Illinois already have enacted legislation to reduce future retiree poverty by encouraging workers to save today.
In addition to publishing the 51 scorecards, NIRS held a webinar to review the project's findings, hearing from Oakley, as well as Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Task Force on Retirement Security for All Marylanders chair and former Maryland lieutenant governor, and Hank Kim, National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems executive director.

Source: National Institute on Retirement Security Press Release (July 30, 2015)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hong Kong: Flexibility Seen as Key to Retention of Older Workers

According to a survey conducted by Regus, 86% of respondents in Hong Kong see flexible working a critical factor in keeping older, experienced workers in the economy, as compared to 84% worldwide. Regus reports that, according to population projections by the Hong Kong SAR Government Census and Statistics Department, one in five Hong Kong people will be aged 65 or above by 2023. In addition, it notes that, in 2014, the Hong Kong SAR government extended the retirement age of newly hired civil servants from 60 to 65 to tackle the problem of an aging population and a shrinking workforce.

The key findings of the research show that:
  • 81% of respondents globally, 88% in Hong Kong, 94% in Taiwan and 92% in Mainland China think that governments should increase employees’ awareness of their right to work flexibly;
  • 86% of respondents globally, 87% in Hong Kong, 91% in Taiwan and 94% in Mainland China believe that governments should be promoting flexible working by offering firms tax incentives that encourage it;
  • 88% of respondents globally, 92% in Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as 94% in Mainland China confirm that flexible working is key to keeping those who care for a relative in employment so that they can better juggle the demands of their family and their professional life.
Source: Regus Press Release (June 27, 2015)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Australia: Survey of Older Workers Finds Workers Optimistic about Staying in the Workforce

According to a report issued by the Financial Services Council and Commonwealth Bank, 71% of older workers across Australia are optimistic about staying in the workforce, and 72% are willing to stay in the workforce for longer. The 2015 Older Workers Report also found that for 61% of the older workers, financial security is the major reason to keep working, followed by reasons such as personal enjoyment, a sense of accomplishment, and freedom and independence. In addition, the report found:
  • Older workers would like to work for an average of six years longer
  • One in three 60-64 year olds expect to work for another 5 years but only 10% for another ten
    years
  • 41% of respondents expect to be paid exactly the same as any equivalent employee
  • 69% of older workers have not applied for a job since turning 50
  • Job satisfaction remains a key driver for 52% of those who have not applied for a new job
  • 17% of older workers have been made redundant since turning 50
  • Females are more likely than males to not apply for a job once made redundant
  • 61% of older workers have been offered training/ up skilling services at the workplace and
    taken them up
  • 55% have a preference for working part time for their remaining working life
  • 65% are satisfied they have sufficient funds to put aside for retirement
Source: Financial Services Council Press Release (July 27, 2015)

Organizaions Establish New Resource for Older Adults To Prepare for, Find, and Apply for Jobs

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) and RetirementJobs.com have announced the join creation of EconomicCheckUp.org to "provide a unique, single resource for older adults to prepare for, find, and apply for jobs." Specifically, the new website will provide an employment path that includes:
  1. Skills Assessment—Often older workers don’t fully understand their skill assets. The Quick Job Match online tool helps them identify their strengths and identify transferable skills.
  2. Online Training—To land the right job, workers need the right skills. The site’s Career Development System provides more than 30 online courses. Classes are free and can be an important addition to a resume.
  3. Help Finding a Job—It takes a great resume and good interview skills to make the right impression. The site offers helpful tips, and RetirementJobs.com can help visitors find just the right mature worker friendly employer to impress.
Source: National Council on Aging Press Release (July 28, 2015)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

OAS Approves Convention Protecting Rights of Older Persons

The member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) has approved a convention to promote, protect and ensure the recognition and the full enjoyment and exercise, on an equal basis, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of older persons, in order to contribute to their full inclusion, integration and participation in society. According to the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons, which was immediately signed by the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay, an older person is a:
person aged 60 or older, except where legislation has determined a minimum age that is lesser or greater, provided that it is not over 65 years. This concept includes, among others, elderly persons.
In addition to banning discrimination against older persons, the Convention provides for a "right to work," which signatories are obligated to protect through enabling legislation:
Article 18
Right to work

Older persons have the right to dignified and decent work and to equal opportunity and treatment on the same terms as other workers, whatever their age.

States Parties shall adopt measures to prevent labor discrimination against older persons. It is prohibited to make any kind of distinction that is not based on the specific requirements of the job, in accordance with domestic laws and local conditions.

The same guarantees, benefits, labor and union rights, and pay should apply to all workers in the same employment or occupation and for similar tasks and responsibilities.

States Parties shall adopt legislative, administrative, and other measures to promote formal work for older persons and to regulate the various forms of self-employment and domestic work, with a view to preventing abuse and ensuring them adequate social coverage and recognition for unremunerated work.

States Parties shall promote programs and measures that will facilitate a gradual transition into retirement, for which they may rely on the participation of organizations representing employers and workers, as well as of other interested agencies.

States Parties shall promote labor policies that take account of the needs and characteristics of older persons, with the aim of fostering workplaces that are suitable in terms of working conditions, environment, work hours, and organization of tasks.

States Parties shall encourage the design of training and knowledge-certification programs in order to promote access for older persons to more-inclusive labor markets.

Source: Organization of American States Press Release (June 15, 2015)

Additional sources: Patricia Barnes Blog Post: American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons (August 1, 2015)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Study Finds Only 35% of University Faculty Expect to Retire by "Normal" Retirement Age

According to a study released by TIAA-CREF Institute, 65% of tenured, senior faculty members plan to put off retirement for various reasons. The report—"Understanding the Faculty Retirement (Non)Decision: Results from the Faculty Career and Retirement Survey"—investigated the dynamics of the faculty retirement decision and why many appear reluctant to retire at a traditional age, and it found that, in addition to the 35% of "traditional retirees," 16% of faculty said they would prefer to retire by the "normal" retirement age of 67, but expect to work longer ("reluctantly reluctant"), while 49% want to work longer ("reluctant by choice"). In addition, the report found that female faculty members are more likely than their male colleagues to expect to retire by normal retirement age.
TIAA-CREF Institute senior economist Paul J. Yakoboski, who authored the report, indicated that universities should engage faculty both on the financial and psychosocial aspects of retirement. A systematic evaluation of personal finances in the context of an individual’s retirement readiness can address the financial aspects, while a thorough evaluation of how an individual could spend his or her time if retired can address the psychosocial aspects. Such exercises would allow senior faculty to make fully informed decisions regarding whether and when to retire.
Source: TIAA-CREF Institute Press Release (June 11, 2015)

Additional sources: Iowa City Press-Citizen "Colleges face growing costs from 'reluctant retirees'" (July 25, 2015)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

AARP Survey Reports that Half of Older Workers Who Were Unemployed in Last Five Years Remain Jobless

According to a survey conducted by AARP, 50% of the surveyed 45- to 70-year-olds who experienced job losses during the past five years reported they were either unemployed or had dropped out of the labor force. Among those who had become reemployed, nearly half said they were earning less than in their previous jobs. The report on the survey&madash;"The Long Road Back: Struggling to Find Work after Unemployment" also examines the different experiences between people who had been short-term unemployed—less than six months—with those who had been long-term unemployed—more than six months.

Among other things, the survey found that:
  • 38% reported they were unemployed, and 12% had dropped out of the labor force;
  • 48% of the reemployed said that they were earning less on their current job than the job they had before they most recently become unemployed;
  • 59% of the reemployed who suffered a long-term spell of unemployment were earning less in their current job, compared to 41% who had been short-term unemployed;
  • 41% of those who experienced long-term unemployment are working in part-time jobs:
  • 53% had an occupation different from the one they had prior to becoming unemployed;
  • 25% of the respondents who landed jobs and participated in training or education programs in the previous five years said it helped a great deal in finding a job.
See also AARP's Public Policy Institute initiative on Future of Work @50+.Sources: AARP Press Release (March 30, 2015); Washington Post Wonkblog"Losing a job is always terrible. For workers over 50, it’s worse." (March 30, 2015)

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)