Friday, June 13, 2014

United Kingdom: Pension Minister Launches Action Plan To Help Older Workers Stay in the Workplace

The United Kingdom's Department for Work and Pensions and Pensions Minister Steve Webb has announced that the government will launch of a new action plan to support the economy, workers, and businesses, but stressed that British business must realize the potential of older workers and help people to stay in the workplace. Detailed in "Fuller Working Lives—a framework for action," the new measures include:
  • extending the right to request flexible working to all employees in June 2014;
  • the appointment of a new Older Workers’ Employment Champion—a respected and independent-minded figure who will advocate the case for older workers within the business community and wider society; and
  • the launch of a new Health and Work Service which will give workers with long-term health problems the support they need to stay in or return to work.
According to the announcement, while the employment rate for 55 to 64 year olds is around 60% and growing, the recent improvement has been relatively modest compared to many other nations, and several countries achieve employment rates of around 70% or above. Among other things, Webb said:
  • "Older workers have a huge amount to bring to any workforce and are a vast untapped talent."
  • "We are living longer and can expect many more years of healthy life. It’s great news – but it’s something that as a society and as an economy we need to respond to."
  • 'As part of building a fairer society, I am determined that we boost our support for older workers and help employers challenge outdated perceptions to see the real strengths of this important section of the workforce."
Source: Department for Work and Pensions and Steve Webb MP Press Release (June 13, 2014)

Other Sources: Daily Mail "Flexible hours push to help the over-50s stay in work: Pensions Minister says older generation are 'vast untapped talent'" (June 13, 2014)

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