Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Australia: ACT Chief Minister Exploring Grandparental Leave

As part of an effort to examine measures to attract and retain mature workers, Austrialian Capital Territory (ACT) Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has asked the ACT Commissioner for Public Administration to examine the possibility of granting public servants unpaid leave to enable grandparents to look after grandchildren up to the age of two.
Mr Stanhope said that 2005 figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that grandparents were delivering childcare services to more than 660,000 Australian children. Grandparents cared for more than half of the one-year-olds who depended on child care and almost 40% of five-year-olds.

Almost all of the childcare undertaken by grandparents was provided at no cost.

“Our ageing workforce, and our need to retain older workers for longer, means that over time we will need to provide working conditions that better suit mature-age workers,” Mr Stanhope said.
Source: ACT Chief Minister Media Release (August 27, 2007)

Other Sources: ABC News "ACT plans grandparental leave" (August 27, 2007)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Survey: Older Workers More Satisfied with Their Jobs

A survey released by the University of Chicago study shows that job satisfaction increases with age, with workers over 65 among the most satisfied. According to the report--“Job Satisfaction in America: Trends and Socio-Demographic Correlates”--by Tom W. Smith, Director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Center at the University of Chicago, 86% of the people interviewed between 1972 and 2006 said they were satisfied at their jobs, with 48% saying they were very satisfied--for older workers, 71% said they were very satisfied.

Smith said that “job satisfaction is especially high among those 65 and over because most people working at that age are not those forced to still work due to financial reasons, but those who choose to do so because they like their jobs.”

Source: University of Chicago News Release (August 27, 2007)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Canada: Older Workers Staying in the Workforce Longer

According to a new study published by Statistics Canada, older Canadian workers are staying in the workforce longer and, as a result, may be dampening the threat of a sudden and severe labour shortage as baby boomers retire.

According to the article--"Participation of older workers", in the August 2007 issue of Perspectives on Labour and Income--by Katherine Marshall and Vincent Ferrao, an estimated 2.1 million individuals aged 55 to 64 were either employed or looking for work in 2006, more than double the total in 1976. Additional highlights include:
  • The main thrust behind the upward trend is women's labour force participation rate, which rose from 38% to 62% between 1976 and 2006 for those aged 55 to 59, and from 24% to 37% for those aged 60 to 64.
  • One in 4 older workers is self-employed and 1 in 5 works part time. Part-time work is one of the few job characteristics that is notably different for older and core-aged workers (those aged 25 to 54), suggesting transitional changes before retirement.
  • Two-thirds of older workers who work part time do so from choice compared with only 28% of core-aged, part-time workers.
Source: Statistics Canada The Daily (August 24, 2007)

Other Sources: "Baby boomers staying in workforce longer: study" (August 24, 2007)--followed by posted comments

Friday, August 24, 2007

Singapore: Prime Minister Proposes Mandating Reemployment of Older Workers

In his National Day Rally speech, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that he will be seeking legislation to require the reemployment of older workers. In addressing the best way for the government to help older workers to stay employed and work longer, the Prime Minister rejected calls for raising the retirement age of 62, since that would discourage employers from hiring older workers.

Accordingly, he called for legislation for reemployment to continue working beyond 62 ad being more flexible for both employers and employees. While a worker would not necessarily get the same job or the same pay, employers must make an offer, taking into account worker’s performance, health and preferences, and company’s needs.

As proposed, the law would take effect from 2012. It would require employers to offer reemployment to workers reaching retirement age, i.e. 62. As a first step, this would go up to 65 age and later would be pushed up to 67. In addition, the government will offer financial incentives for older people to work, and for employers to hire them.

Source: Singapore Government Media Release (August 19, 2007)

Other Sources: Channel NewsAsia "Firms facing Re-employment Act can stay cost-competitive" (August 23, 2007); "Singapore To Make Re-employment Of Older Workers Mandatory" (August 20, 2007)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

"Employ the Older Workers Job Fair Series" To Be Held during Autumn

A partnership between The Employment Guide and AARP Foundation will hold the first of what is to an annual "Employ the Older Workers Job Fair Series" from from August 22 to October 19. The job fair series is a national effort, reaching more than 40 cities, to bring together older workers and 50+-friendly employers, and is being held in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor’s National Employ Older Workers Week, Sept. 23-29, 2007.

Source: Employment Guide and AARP Foundation News Release (August 21, 2007)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Canadian Surveys Show that Attention to Health Policies Can Keep Older Workers on the Job

Derek Sankey, writing for CanWest News Service, picks up on two recent surveys to point out that "tweaking health-care benefit plans could help retain experienced workers for longer, yet most companies plan to reduce those benefits in coming years."

The first survey--the "The sanofi-aventis Healthcare Survey 2007"--reports that about two-thirds of workers aged 55 or older are "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to continue working or return to the workforce after retirement if their employers would offer health benefits that continue into retirement. However, the second survey--conducted by Hewitt Associates--shows taht 57% of organizations plan to reduce post-retirement health-care benefits over the next three years.

However, according to Cathy Course, a senior benefits consultant for Hewitt Associates in Calgary, emerging trends in health-care benefit plans would suggest taht there are ways to combat the increasing costs associated with such a large of number of workers exiting the workforce and wanting extended health benefits, with flexibility being a core concept.

Source: Saskatoon Star Phoenix "Health benefits worker-retention issue" (August 18, 2007)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

United Kingdom: TUC Debates Accessibility to Training for Older Workers

In a web-based debate, TUC assistant general secretary Kay Carberry told her audience that "We need to look at the upper age limit for funding apprenticeships, because most apprenticeship funding at the moment is largely limited to people under 25." Instead of taking the "mistaken" view that once you’ve been around for a few decades that’s it, Carberry said that the priorities were to scrutinise everything that happens in the workplace to make sure that it ‘s free of age discrimination and to train older workers--give them more opportunities than they’ve got now.

Carberry was participating in a live tele-cast debate sponsored by Equal-works on the topic of "The value of experience: older workers, their importance and their rights".
Some employers felt it wasn’t worth investing in training older workers because they weren’t going to be around that long. This was a misconception, she said. It was also wrong to think "that older workers aren’t going to be susceptible to learning new skills because they ‘re getting a bit doddery and they’re getting a bit slow.

"I think there are a lot of people who have worked in one particular field, who get into their late 50’ s early 60’s, don’t want to carry on doing that particular kind of work but would welcome the opportunity to do something a little bit different and quite often they don’t get that opportunity maybe with the same employer, maybe voluntary work.

"What the unions are concerned about is that older workers or workers in other age ranges are not viewed as an undifferentiated lump. We would like to see public policy more finely attuned to individuals needs."
Source: Further Education News "TUC Asst Gen Sec: End discrimination against older workers and open up training to them" (August 11, 2007)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Manpower Inc. and Schneider National Certified as "Age Friendly" Employers has independently evaluated and bestowed its "Age Friendly Employer" Certification upon two Wisconsin-based companies: Manpower Inc. and Schneider National, Inc. Certification indicates an employer’s recognition of the value of age 50+ workers, as well as its commitment to take affirmative action in providing meaningful employment, development opportunities and competitive pay and benefits. These two companies join such previously certified national employers as H&R Block, Marriott, REI, Robert Half International, Safeway, and Staples.

Employers who’ve earned Age Friendly Employer Certification must have demonstrated consistent performance on twelve criteria which define best practices that effectively retain and attract a mature workforce to the employer.

Source: Press Release (August 9, 2007)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Canada: Calgary Chamber Recommends Changes To Encourage Older Workers

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce has recommended changes to the Canadian Pension Plan, Old Age Security, and RRSP programs to remove disincentives and entice older workers to continue in the labour force. The recommendations were made as part of a submission to the Federal Expert Panel on Older Workers.

According to Heather Douglas, President & CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, older workers represent a significant source of underutilized talent and labour supply in the Canadian economy, but the federal government retirement programs do not reflect current and future demographic, retirement and life expectancy realities and create disincentives for older workers to participate in the labour force. The Chamber's submission to the Expert Panel--"Older Workers: Amending Federal Government Retirement Programs to Tap Into an Underutilized Pool of Labour Supply"--recommended several changes that have the potential to encourage 80,000 additional older Albertans to remain in the labour force:
  • expanding the age range at which people are eligible to access their Canada Pension Plan benefits from 60-70 to 60-75;
  • amending the Old Age Security program to encourage the most highly skilled and experienced Canadians to continue working after age 65;
  • working with the provinces to develop harmonized and flexible part-time pension policies that provide incentives for Canadians to gradually transition out of the labour force after age 65.
Source: Calgary Chamber of Commerce News Release (July 30, 2007)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Armenia: Dismissal of Older Lab Workers Raises Concerns

Yerevan State University's decision to dismiss 65 laboratory workers age 65 or older who had spent years as assistants in the university’s chemistry, biology, and physics labs has raised concerns, according to an article by Sara Khojoyan. While national labor law is on the university rector’s side, since an employer has the right to cancel contracts with workers based on the national retirement age--61 for women and 65 for men, the University trade union president suggests that the workers, who are protesting their dismissal, are raising moral issues that the law does not address.

Source: Transitions Online "Out With the Old" (August 6, 2007)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Survey: EBRI Reports More Older Americans Working Full Time

According to new research published by Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), there is a trend toward more full-time, full-year work among older workers and that trend can be seen is virtually every demographic group.

Among other things, EBRI writes in "Employment Status of Workers Age 55 and Older" in its August issue of EBRI Notes that:
  • those aged 55 or older in the labor force increased from about 29% n 1993 to 38% in 2006
  • those aged 65–69 in the labor force increased from about 18% in 1985 to 29% in 2006.
  • the percentage of workers age 55 or older who work full time, full year steadily increased from 54% in 1993 to 64% in 2005.
  • across each race/ethnicity category, the percentage of workers age 55 or older working full time, full year increased from 1987 to 2005.
Source: EBRI News Release (August 2, 2007)