Review of the year part one – January to April

workingwise.co.uk is looking back at the main news of 2021 in relation to older workers, beginning from January’s lockdown and the early months of the year when concerns about the longer term Covid impact were beginning to surface.

Senior male archivist holding open red notebook in hands, looking at camera, man wearing face mask due Covid-19 pandemic

 

January

The year began with another national lockdown in England and similar restrictions in other parts of the UK. Meanwhile, a new analysis showed unemployed over 50s are two and a half times as likely as younger age groups to be out of work for at least two years.

February

The employment rate for over 50s fell by the highest percentage of all age groups in the three months to the end of 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics. A survey showed older workers are feeling more negative than positive about the next months while the TUC called for the additional 1.7m people being added to the shielding list who are working to be furloughed if they can’t work from home.

On self-employed news, the Government said employers will not have to pay penalties for inaccuracies relating to the new off-payroll working rules in the first 12 months unless there is evidence of deliberate non-compliance. And a study showed the majority of the UK’s self-employed workforce is unprepared for April changes to off-payroll working rules.

In other news, the Government launched a consultation on increasing the normal minimum pension age as a study showed freelancers are lowering their day rates and working more.

March

It is reported that around 200,000 women are to receive letters to say they are owed an average £13,500 due to state pension administrative errors dating back to 1992. Meanwhile, a survey finds over two fifths of women in the UK who have experienced menopause symptoms say they have felt too embarrassed to ask for support in the workplace, with nearly two thirds says there needs to be more workplace support. Meanwhile a TUC report estimates hundreds of thousands of older workers are being “consigned to poverty” due to ill health. It also finds 12% of men and women are forced to stop working before state pension age due to ill-health or disability.

In other news, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development finds half of employers dont have a financial wellbeing policy to cover issues such as pensions advice. Business leaders have send an open letter to the Prime Minister calling on him to deliver on his promise of a National Strategy for Disabled People, which should include tackling disability discrimination at work.

April

A survey finds retirement ranks in the top three of the most emotionally impactful times in people’s lives after having children and getting married and many who retire end up taking up a part-time role or volunteering afterwards, as a study shows the net gain arising from increased employment due to raising the retirement age may be smaller than anticipated because of the impact on those caring for older relatives. And a report from Standard Life Aberdeen suggests many people who plan to retire this year may run out of money at some point while another study warns that the gap between the phasing out of final-salary private sector pensions and the new workplace style pensions means pension incomes are likely to fall fast in the coming decades, particularly for men.

Only 5.5% of job adverts mention flexible working, according to a study by the Centre for Ageing Better which highlights the importance of taking out the language used in relation to age bias in job adverts. Meanwhile, a report says the Covid crisis has had a substantial impact on older-age employment, older people face a harder struggle getting back to work and, once back, typically take a fall in earnings.



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