The Newstart controversy has highlighted the unacceptable rate of unemployed older Australians. So, what are your rights as a mature aged worker?
Almost 20% of all workers are over the age of 55 and there are more 55-65 year-olds on Newstart than any other age group.
Clearly, older Australians are a vital part of the workforce and economy.
It is a major social concern that workers who lose their jobs later in life, have little or no prospect of getting another full-time paying job, and yet are too young to access the age pension.
Older job seekers lay the blame on employers discriminating against them.
Age discrimination is a key concern reported in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) fact sheet on legal protections for mature workers in Australia. It cites Australian Human Rights Commission reports that 35% of Australians aged between 55 and 64 have experienced ageism.
The fact sheet outlines the national and state laws that protect mature workers from discrimination and uphold their right to seek flexible work arrangements.
Did you know, for example, that a person who is a carer or is aged 55 or older has the right to request flexible working arrangements?
It also addresses the way workplace health and safety laws can be uniquely relevant to older Australians.
Age discrimination legislation is relevant to all stages of the employment process: recruitment and selection, employment terms and conditions, training and development, promotion and transfers, and termination of employment.
To find out more about legal protections for older workers, you can download the fact sheet here.
National Seniors Australia is working with other advocacy organisations to address ageism through the EveryAGE Counts campaign.
We have been investigating ways to promote mature age employment in our campaign activities.