Call to remove barriers to working after 60

A lack of jobs for older workers is not the main obstacle for those willing to work later in life

The release of the paper, Working past our 60s: Reforming laws and policies for the older worker, has highlighted that a lack of jobs for older workers is not the main obstacle for those willing to work later in life.

The paper, produced by the Australian Human Rights Commission, details that age thresholds which apply to workers compensation, income insurance and professional licenses are a bar to those able and willing to work after 60. With the projected increase in life expectancy and the financial need of many to work past the traditional retirement age, these barriers must be removed if Australia is to release the full potential of its older workers.

The landscape of the Australia workforce has changed greatly over the last 110 years. In 1901 just four per cent of the Australian population was aged 65 years or older. Now that figure is 13.5 per cent and is expected to increase to 23 per cent by 2041. Yet we currently have a situation whereby at age 65, income replacement under workers compensation ceases in most states. Although medical expenses are still covered after this age, it is the independent income which allows most older workers to delay retirement.

For those who can afford income protection insurance, this is also limited in most cases to workers up to the age of 65 and premiums generally increase as one ages. If you make your living as a professional driver, age restrictions on licenses can stop you from being able to work.

Age Discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan, says that “The age thresholds that apply to workers compensation, income insurance and to essential professional licenses, limit the access that older people have to the workforce. All of these bars can, and should, be dismantled.”

More information
Let’s hope this happens sooner rather than later.  You can read the full discussion paper at


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    8th Jun 2012
    I am a bus and coach driver with a lifetime experience in the industry
    At 65 I was told I could not work fulltime anymore so went onto driving as relief this usualy meant night work and every weekend average weekly hours 50 to 60 [Fulltime would have been better 38 ]
    Now I am in my 70s age group I have now been told I can only work on a contract basis and must supply my own Insurances etc yet my boss still takes out my tax each week yet centerlink reduce my pension on the gross I am paid before any insurances, tax, licenses, etc that fulltime workers do not have I think the WHOLE thing with older workers needs a revamp not just in my state Qld but federally
    We cannot live on the pension alone yet are governed at every turn

    8th Jun 2012
    I agree with you Misterpeter. I worked part time in retail prior to moving to Goulburn and REALLY wanted to continue working part time, at least. With extensive experience in all facets of the industry and good references, I applied for many retail jobs during the first year, not getting a single reply. I honestly stated my age and noted that those who got the jobs were young, but they also didn't stay! I stopped applying because my confidence was diminishing, and although I needed the extra cash I made do.
    Something does have to be done about this situation; I don't understand how business owners can't see that good customer skills take time to achieve and experience in staff is much better for the business.
    9th Jun 2012
    I heard on the 7-30 report that they were thinking of putting the GST on everything --including food and getting older people to get back to work till any age--for God's sake how do they think that those that can't work will get on--great for those that want to work and can--what about those that have hard physical work !
    9th Jun 2012
    Employers here in Australia are in my experience so 'parochial' and short-sighted in terms of the many valuable and transferrable skills that mature - aged people could bring to their business /organisation.
    They are obsessed with people having a Certificate for this that and the next thing - what about all the years of experience and expertise that we can bring to many types of jobs - that seems to count for absolutely nothing!
    Like Pip states above [ although I have picked up some short term or casual work ] after spending countless hours over 7 years applying for jobs since returning to live in NSW, I had to give up as my confidence had sunk to an all time low last year, and I was considering returning to the UK where I know my qualifications and high level experience are both recognised and valued - unlike here!! I 'm now trying to establish a small business in a totally different field having retrained- and this despite my health problems.
    9th Jun 2012
    All these kids that are forced to go to Uni--for what--work in an office or such-I know at least 3 that went to Uni got great passes and can not now get a job in what they are qualified for--there is nothing like working you way to the top--that way you understand the whole system and don't come in with stupid ideas like a lot of graduates do. I am sure this Uni is brought in to bring the jobless figures down. Take Nurses now they are trained at Uni--and have no real experience--and a lot once they get into the real world can not handle it at all.
    10th Jun 2012
    I agree with 'Plan B' - at least to a certain extent Someone told me recently the Govt is trying to get all youngsters to go to Uni - what a joke - as many are just not academically suited and/or inclined!
    I trained as an RN the 'old-fashioned' way in the late 1960s - when it was a bit like an apprenticeship system. I have also experienced first hand how many new Graduate RNs don't know how to even communciate properly with their patients - far less know what real nursing care is all about!!
    10th Jun 2012
    So true Peaceful--and unless you need to be a Dr or such what the hell do they need to go to Uni for--whats wrong with leaving school at 15 like we did and do a tech course or such. So many going to Uni and can't get a job anyway--the old way with Nurses was good they started off doing the real $--t jobs and learnt the hard way and made better nurses for it, they knew what they were in for.

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