Review of the year part two: May to September

Part two of workingwise.co.uk’s review of the year charts the main news for older workers from May to September 2021.

Mature woman at home office desk with laptop

 

May

The 50 to 54 age group has been the most affected by job loss of the over 50’s age group during the pandemic, according to the ONS. Acas publishes advice for employers on how to manage the effects of long Covid. Meanwhile, figures from the World Health Organization and International Labour Organisation show the deadly impact of long working hours on older workers in particular while new unemployment figures suggest older workers are particularly affected by long-term unemployment.

A report says employers need to urgently tackle ageism at work, ensure better access to training and support employeeshealth to remain competitive in the post-pandemic recovery while research from PensionBee shows the UK gender pension gap can be as high as 57%, depending on savers’ age and regional location.

In other news, the International Longevity Centre and Innovation Resource Center for Human Resources launch a competition to find the best innovative practice when it comes to the ageing workforce.

June

A new large-scale, government-funded study shows the number of people suffering from long Covid is much larger than previously thought and confirmed that older people, especially women, are more likely to have it.

Research finds that employees over the age of 65 were 40% more likely to be furloughed in late April than those in their 40s, amid fears that the end of the scheme could lead to rising unemployment among older workers.

Another report warns that the Government needs to take action to help prevent future generations of older people experiencing poor retirement living standards while the ONS says unpaid carers are significantly more likely than others to have seen their work affected by the pandemic.

In other news, a freelance group says the Government needs to provide a sectoral support and stimulus package in light of the delay to the easing of lockdown restrictions in England which will particularly hit freelancer-dominated industries such as events, the night-time economy and the creative sector. Another survey shows the proportion of freelancers reporting mental health issues has risen by over 200 per cent during the pandemic.

July

The Prime Minister’s announcement that guidance on working from home, mask wearing and social distancing will end on 19th July in England brings a mixed reaction. Meanwhile, older workers are more likely to be still on furlough and could now face a higher risk of unemployment as the furlough scheme is phased out from July, according to Resolution Foundation research. The number of people on furlough falls as the scheme tapers off and employers have to pay towards it, with younger people coming off it more quickly than older workers.

Meanwhile, campaigners are worried about the growing number of women over 65 who face unemployment after the state pension age rose to 66 last year while the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee launches an inquiry regarding the treatment of women going through menopause in the workplace.

In other news, a survey shows a third of middle aged workers feel disconnected from their company, with a further 27% saying their opinions aren’t valued. And another study shows over 50s need to be encouraged to update their IT skills due to their underrepresentation in the sector.

August

The number of older people claiming Universal Credit [UC] in the last year has risen significantly, with 34,000 more people aged over 50 on the benefit since February, according to the Resolution Foundation. Meanwhile, a poll shows more than two thirds (68 per cent) of over-55s feel that the jobs market is closed to them, despite one in four wanting to work into their 80s. Another study shows 22 per cent of workers who are over 50 say that the pandemic has made them want to retire earlier and as soon as they can, but 13% want to delay retirement because they have realised they enjoy working.

On flexible working, an ONS study shows working from home has some benefits for older workers and may enable some to stay in the labour market for longer, but it could widen inequality between those who can and can’t work from home.

In other news, men aged 55 have an expected retirement income of £20,712 a year, while women will only get £14,964 – leaving a gender pension gap of £183,936 over their lifetime, according to a study that suggests the gap has widened during Covid. And research shows older self employed men have been the most affected by Covid pandemic loss of earnings.



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