$10,000 to hire older workers won’t work in isolation

The seniors lobby has welcomed reports today that a $10,000 incentive payment for businesses who hire older workers for a period of two years will be announced in tonight’s budget. But, says, with the pension age set to rise, the government must do more.

The initiative builds on a Coalition election promise of a $3250 payment for businesses hiring the over 50s which was set to take effect this July.

Newspapers are reporting that, under the extended scheme, businesses who hire employees aged 50-plus will be given $3000 for the first 6 months; another $3000 after 12 months; another $2000 after 18 months; and, finally, another $2000 at 2 years.

“Given that Australians will soon be compelled to work longer than any other people on the planet, the onus is now on government to create jobs for them,” said National Seniors chief executive Michael O’Neill.

“Put simply, we can’t raise the pension age without ensuring jobs exist for older Australians”.

“Experience suggests cash bonuses don’t work in isolation”.

“We need a suite of measures that tackle community attitudes, promote workplace flexibility and remove the legal barriers to employment that mature age people face,” he said.

“Otherwise, older Australians will float from one form of welfare to another”.

Official figures released by the Greens on the weekend revealed the number of Australians in their 50s and 60s (200,000) on Newstart Allowance had increased by 41% since 2010.

Older job seekers are unemployed for an average 71 weeks compared to the 41 weeks of those aged 25 to 44.

Human Rights Commission research indicates that just a 5 percent increase in paid employment of Australians aged 55-plus would add $48 billion to the economy annually.

Earlier this month, Treasurer Joe Hockey announced the pension age would rise to 70 by 2035. It will reach 67 by 2023.

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