Latest news from around the world on mature workers for August 2020.
When Retirement Comes Too Early (USA)
Once, older workers benefited from a so-called experience premium: Because of their years on the job, they earned more than younger employees and were less likely to be laid off during downturns. But “the premium has been shrinking over time,” said Richard Johnson, an economist at the Urban Institute who studies employment and retirement among older adults.
Workplaces have grown steadily less friendly to older workers, who lost bargaining power as unions weakened, the gig economy arose and age-discrimination laws remained laxly enforced. – New York Times, 28 August 2020
KPMG to review clause asking partners to retire at 58
KPMG Australia is reviewing its compulsory retirement age of 58 for partners after rival EY Oceania dropped a similar clause and as Deloitte Australia faces a landmark lawsuit over its age-based retirement policy.
The decision to review the partnership agreement came after KPMG’s leadership repeatedly defended the retirement clause, despite lawyers, experts and federal politicians criticising the rule as archaic and breaching age discrimination laws. – Australian Financial Review (paywall), 28 August 2020
The industries least likely to hire workers over age 45 and the reasons why (USA)
Currently, these industries are the least likely to take on older talent according to a recent meta-analysis: Manufacturing, Software and IT and Business and Finance. Conversely, healthcare and education were the only industries determined to be relatively open to the idea of employing older hirees. Reluctance was mostly based on productivity and output concerns. – Ladders, 27 August 2020
Tribunal upholds award to age discrimination job interview solicitor (UK)
The employment tribunal has declined to change its compensation award made to a solicitor who claimed age discrimination when he was turned down for a job. – Law Gazette, 27 August 2020
Judge Tosses Age Discrimination Claim in ‘Simpsons’ Composer Alf Clausen’s Firing
A judge has dismissed an age discrimination claim brought by former “Simpsons” composer Alf Clausen, who was fired from the show in 2017, finding that 20th Century Fox had a free speech right to choose the composer for the show.
The producers said they decided to terminate Clausen after they became dissatisfied with his work on a hip-hop themed episode. The producers felt that Clausen, who was 75 at the time, was not comfortable with rap or hip-hop music, and they were worried about keeping the show relevant. – Variety, 25 August 2020
Wales TUC launches guide on supporting older workers
WALES TUC has launched a new ‘Supporting older workers’ guide on raising awareness of how trade union members and reps can support workers over the age of 50. Its research has found that a third of over-50s expect to retire later than they envisioned when they were 40. A significant group of workers believe that they will continue working into their 70s.
Wales TUC has identified financial insecurity, the removal of the mandatory retirement age and increased demand for the skills of many older workers as factors driving these increases.
The new toolkit provides ideas and resources to help trade union officers and representatives. – Health and Safety Matters, 25 August 2020
Deloitte ‘knew age policy was illegal’
A senior Deloitte Australia partner claims the business had a mandatory retirement policy which it knew was “against the law”. – The Australian (paywall), 23 August 2020
Covid-19 crisis hits hard for the elderly
Elderly people have suffered the most from the massive employment contraction during the economic crisis, although more will be working beyond retirement age, according to an online forum. – Bangkok Post, 23 August 2020
Coronavirus: As the young lose their jobs, should older workers be forced to retire?
So here’s the thing about the elders of the tribe — do we owe them or do they owe us? It’s not a new question but it has been front and centre as COVID-19 forces decisions on politicians, doctors, policymakers and business people.
So far this argument — life is priceless; life comes with a price tag — has been confined to our very old people, specifically those in nursing homes. But as unemployment hits, what chance a stoush between the not-so-old in their 60s and 70s and the 20-somethings with no hope of a proper job? What chance a more overt debate about who should retire and when? – The Australian (paywall), 22 August 2020
Population decline due to coronavirus could cost economy $117b a year, KPMG forecast shows
There could be a million fewer people than previously predicted in Australia by the end of the decade as a result of COVID-19, producing an annual hit to the economy of $117 billion by 2030 and an ageing workforce. The forecasts, from consultancy KPMG, highlight some of the longer-term impacts of the global pandemic on an Australian economy which has relied on a continued boom in population — mostly from migration — for growth in recent years. – ABC 7:30 Report, 21 August 2020
Liberal and Labor politicians slam KPMG retirement clause
Federal politicians from both sides of the aisle have slammed the compulsory retirement age of 58 imposed by KPMG on its partners as archaic, potentially putting the $200 million-plus the firm pulls in revenue from Commonwealth contracts annually at risk. – Australian Financial Review (possible paywall), 21 August 2020
Black workers retiring later than white counterparts, research finds (UK)
Black workers are more likely to retire later and have a lower income during retirement compared to their white counterparts, a study has found. The disparity is largely the result of lower average incomes, with experts urging HR to ensure diversity initiatives aren’t aimed solely at younger individuals. – People Management, 21 August 2020
The pandemic’s toll on older workers (USA)
The pandemic threatens to chip away at employment among workers over the age of 55 — an increasingly important part of the U.S. labor force. Now, the dual impact of the coronavirus’ heightened risk for older workers and lingering ageism in the workplace leaves the future of work for that population hanging in the balance. – Axios, 19 August 2020
Deloitte age discrimination case puts spotlight on equality policy
A legal action has thrown the spotlight on how employers can refresh and restructure staff without the right to move people on after a certain age. – The Australian (paywall), 16 August 2020
Gig work isn’t just for millennials — it can provide the flexibility and cash older Americans need
The gig economy has changed work in America in a big way over the past several years as former full-time employees turn to freelancing, driving for Uber, or taking one of the growing number of remote, self-employed roles available. And there’s one group that could majorly benefit from this rise in flexible work: retirees. Aging and retirement expert and author Elizabeth White expects freelancing to become a norm for older Americans. During the coronavirus pandemic, when many older workers are being faced with the choice of continuing to work and facing infection, or retiring, the gig economy provides an alternative. – Business Insider, 15 August 2020
Auto repair and service industry in skills shortage thanks to ageing workforce, lack of apprentices
The automotive service and repair sector is calling out for new workers as it grapples with an ageing workforce and skills shortages. According to the industry’s peak body, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association, more than 40 per cent of mechanics are over 50 years old and 30 per cent of service and repair workshops are turning away customers because they don’t have enough staff to meet demand. – The West Australian, 15 August 2020
KPMG defies call to drop clause requiring partners to retire at 58
KPMG Australia has defied calls to remove its compulsory retirement age of 58 for partners amid warnings from the former age discrimination commissioner that such clauses are illegal, saying its leaders are aware of the rule when joining and are “treated fairly” on the way out.
The big four consulting firm’s comments come as rival consultancy Deloitte Australia faces a landmark case, in which a partner of the firm is alleging its mandatory retirement age of 62 breaches age discrimination law. – Australian Financial Review, 12 August 2020
Increasing numbers of women over 50 forced into retirement because of coronavirus (UK)
Women over the age of 50 have been hardest hit by the economic impact of coronavirus, new research has revealed, with just under 100,000 being forced into early retirement since the start of the pandemic. – The Telegraph (paywall), 10 August 2020
EY drops requirement for partners to retire at 60
Rules in large professional service partnerships that impose age-based retirement requirements on older partners are most likely illegal, experts say, and leave those firms open to court action over age discrimination.
The assessment of these age-based rules, by two legal experts, comes amid a landmark case alleging that Deloitte Australia’s mandatory retirement age of 62 breaches age discrimination law and after Ernst & Young revealed it had dropped a clause in its partnership agreement requiring partners to retire at 60. – Australian Financial Review (possible paywall), 7 August 2020
Older partner claims Deloitte forced him out
A Deloitte Australia partner is suing the firm and chief executive Richard Deutsch for age discrimination after being allegedly directed to leave the partnership because he had turned 62 – a case that threatens to end mandatory retirement ages at professional services firms. – Australian Financial Review (possible paywall), 6 August 2020
Kenyans paying the price for an aged civil service
Kenyans are paying a heavy price for ageing, techno-phobic civil service after the Covid-19 pandemic pushed the majority of them into hibernation, leading to disruption in the delivery of services.
Ageing public servants, 58 years and above, as well as those with underlying medical conditions, have been asked to work from home, leaving the government machinery almost grounded. – The Standard, 5 August 2020
Jobs market discrimination a major issue, but many employers don’t see it (Netherlands)
Age, sex and racial discrimination remain a major issue in the Dutch labour market, according to a survey of 2,100 people carried out on behalf of Intermediair magazine and the jobs bank Nationale Vacaturebank. – Dutch News, 4 August 2020
Companies In Their Cost Cutting Are Discriminating Against Older Workers
According to MarketWatch, “Age discrimination in the jobs market, which is supposedly illegal, goes up in recessions. Some employers take the opportunity to ax experienced workers who are paid a reasonable wage, and replace them with cheap, desperate kids who will put up with anything.” The author of the piece, Brett Arends, an award-winning financial writer, further cites research from the National Bureau of Economic Research that found “age discrimination rises hand in hand with the unemployment rate” and “older workers tend to be the last hired back and the first fired.” – Forbes, 3 August 2020
Health and safety of ageing workers: a priority for all (Europe)
By 2030, workers aged 55-64 are expected to make up 30 % or more of the European workforce.
Resources from a project carried out by EU-OSHA provide analysis of policies and initiatives addressing the ageing of workers across Europe:
Safer and healthier work at any age – occupational safety and health in the context of an ageing workforce (includes publications)
Data visualisation tool on ageing and OSH (2017; how European countries deal with the challenges for safety and health at work)
2016-17 campaign, Healthy Workplaces for All Ages (healthy working practices for all ages) – EU-OSHA, 21 July 2020