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.”
Let’s hope this happens sooner rather than later. You can read the full discussion paper at hroec.gov.au