Saturday, December 17, 2011

Australia: Report on Economic Potential Urges Government Action To Improve Labor Participation by Older Workers

The Advisory Panel on the Economic Potential of Senior Australians has submitted its third and final report to Australia's Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, making recommendations in areas it has found to be vital to enabling senior Australians to actively contribute to all aspects of society. While addressing issues across the aging spectrum, including an aging agenda, housing, lifelong learning, active aging, volunteering and philanthroppy, and age discrimination, the report--"Realising the economic potential of senior Australians: turning grey into gold"--makes a series of recommendations concerning participation in the labor force, including the following:
  1. The federal government must engage peak employer and industry groups to assist individual employers to develop and implement older worker employment strategies, starting with a series of high profile seminars across the country.
  2. All levels of government must embed age diversity within their workforces and model best practice on attracting, developing, and retaining older workers.
  3. The federal government must work with industry to extend flexible work arrangements to people aged 55 and over by amending the law to include the right to request flexible work for this age group or through best practice industry standards.
  4. The federal government must commission a review of the income support framework for people aged between 50 and age pension age (including income thresholds) and
    employment support programs for mature age workers, to ensure individuals have appropriate incentives and assistance to work to their fullest capacity.
  5. The federal government must work with state and territory governments to amend workers’ compensation regimes to ensure older workers are not disadvantaged, convene a roundtable with the insurance industry to examine the availability and affordability of income protection insurance for workers over age 60, and to identify ways of encouraging the private insurance market to offer income protection insurance to workers regardless of their age.
According to Everald Compton, the Panel's Chair:
"Of particular importance will be the ability of seniors to stay in the workforce for a significant period after they reach the 'traditional age for retirement' and their ability to serve Australia as volunteers. We also want senior Australians to help turn Australia into a powerhouse of philanthropy".

"The work of this panel is only the start of action needed to embed a national ageing agenda in Australia", said Everald Compton. "Government of all levels need to continue working together to develop strategies out to 2050 to capitalise on the potential of senior Australians whose aspirations change with every generation".
Source: Advisory Panel on the Economic Potential of Senior Australians Media Release (December 12, 2011)

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