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In the last part of workingwise.co.uk’s review of 2021, we look at the big reports and news from September to December, including the first National Older Workers Week.
As workingwise.co.uk announces that November will see the first National Older Workers Week, a report highlights growing fears for the more than half a million older workers who are on furlough when the scheme ends at the end of September.
Meanwhile, a webinar hosted by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research showed a big divide between older jobseekers’ perceptions of age bias in the recruitment process and employers’ apparent lack of awareness of any problems.
The Government announces a consultation on a proposal to make the right to request flexible working a day one right and the Women and Equalities Committee launches a survey into women’s experience of menopause in the workplace. And a Government report shows that the number of older people seeking work has fallen since the pandemic started, reversing an upward trend, while the age at which people leave the workforce has fallen slightly.
In other news, the Government has underpaid State Pension to thousands of pensioners, particularly women, according to a report. And it is reported that older workers over pension age will have to contribute towards the new healthcare levy.
The month begins with a study showing over half of older workers are worried about ageism in the recruitment process and the announcement by the Government that it will extend the Plan for Jobs to include a package of support for older workers.
In mid-October the Business4Health initiative launches a new framework and calls on employers to focus on health issues, whether for their workforce, their consumers or the wider community.
Amid increasing focus on the menopause, a report shows the impact of severe menopause symptoms on women’s career progression and early retirement plans and it is announced that a new taskforce on the menopause will be set up as a Private Members’ Bill is debated in Parliament and cuts to hormone replacement therapy costs were announced.
November sees the first National Older Workers Week, launched by workingwise.co.uk. This includes four online events on different aspects of best practice and supporting older workers. It begins with a survey showing almost half (44%) of respondents admitted to altering their age on their CV to apply for a role and one in three (34%) of older workers said they had experienced ageism in the interview process for a role. Meanwhile, the Government uses National Older Workers Week to promote its 50 Plus Champions initiative to help employers retain older workers.
An analysis of recent employment tribunal claims by law firm Wright Hassall shows a significant rise in age discrimination cases, whether by older or younger workers, although from a small base. Meanwhile, the Institute for Employment Studies says more needs to be done to bring older workers, particularly older women, back into the labour market to address the skills shortage as a report says 20,000 older workers over 50 who have been made redundant in the last five years have dropped out of the workforce and another report found that the number of older workers and young men in the workforce has dropped significantly during Covid, while the number of working mums has increased.
In other news, a report from Carers UK finds that the pandemic has significantly increased the number of working carers and that a lack of social care is the biggest risk factor for people not staying in work.
An analysis of pension contributions by PensionBee finds the gender pension gap remains at around 40%, despite women being less likely to withdraw money from their pension over the last year. Meanwhile, analysis of ONS figures shows a big increase since 2019 in older workers not working due to long-term or temporary ill health and a Canada Life poll finds 19% of workers over 55 feel they have faced age discrimination while 44% of all workers think they will work beyond retirement age.
In other news, Saga, the organisation for over 50s, announces a new paid grandparent leave policy and the Department for Work and Pensions publishes updated guidance for employers on supporting older workers better. The Government also announce a review of plans to bring forward raising the State Pension age to 68 amid concerns about the impact of Covid and growing inequality on healthy life expectancy.