‘Focus on stopping people leaving rather than bringing back retirees’

A new report calls for more radical action to stop older workers leaving the workforce, including a government campaign and a national hotline to report ageism.

Sad, Depressed woman


Over two thirds of retirees would resent having to go back to work, according to a poll by think tank Demos which argues for early intervention to stop older workers leaving the workforce rather than trying to get those who have left to return.

With housing and care organisation Anchor it has published a new report on older workers and says the Government should focus on the many who leave work before they wish to do so. For instance, it says there are over 800,000 older people who are currently out of work but who want a job. It adds that hundreds of thousands of older workers are at risk of leaving the workforce due to a range of factors such as a lack of access to flexible working, lack of support for those workers made redundant, ill health or disability, poor experiences of work and age discrimination.

The Platinum Pound report says financial incentives are one way to make staying in work more attractive, but that these need to be targeted at those that most need them and delivered in a way that recognises the contribution and value of workers. It also calls for regulatory changes that can improve the quality of work and encouragement for flexible working alongside institutional investment in infrastructure.

Specifically, the report calls for the introduction of an annual tax-free £1,000 Priority Jobs Bonus – for all workers over 55 working in shortage occupations and earning less than £50,000 a year, subsidised occupational health services for employers, forcing large public and private sector employers to provide redundancy employment support programmes for employees over the age of 50 and consultation on mandating large public and private sector employers to train managers on how to manage older workers and improve multigenerational team working.

Other recommendations include a government campaign to champion older workers and age-friendly employment, the creation of Job Clubs for over 50s through a Universal Work Service and investment in a national hotline so that older people can report age discrimination at work.

The report comes as another think tank, the IPPR, warns that the level of illness among the UK population is costing lives and harming the economy, calling it a “serious fiscal threat” to the UK. The think tank attributes the rise in illness to long NHS waiting lists and other barriers to accessing treatment.

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