The number of people working past retirement age is at a record level in Ireland, according to the latest CSO workforce statistics, and an increase in the number of people over 65 whose housing and cost of living stays in the workforce, according to Age Action. is said to be the main factor in .
“People have mortgages that they don’t always get paid back, so they’re pushing seniors into debt at a higher rate than they used to,” said Celine Clarke, the group’s advocacy director.
“And also the fact that the national pension is consistently below the inflation rate, we also see more older people falling into poverty or at risk of poverty and poverty. Those who can work are doing so because they need to cover the difference between housing maintenance costs and the national pension.”
According to CSO figures released last week, there will be 107,300 workers over the age of 65 in the first quarter of 2023, up more than 1,000 from last year’s all-time high and 91,900 in the fourth quarter of 2019. Significantly increased from a person. Last quarter before the pandemic.
One possible factor is that the National Pension eligibility age was changed from 65 to 66 in 2014 as a result of the EU-IMF bailout. Until then, the transitional pension, which had been paid to people who quit their jobs at the age of 65 in the same year, was abolished. For a year, I was put in a position where I had to claim benefits.
Researchers, including ESRI professor Alan Barrett, have traditionally found that highly educated men are particularly prevalent among those working in their late 60s and 70s, and more than half of such workers are self-employed. I have found that it tends to be a business.
Professor Barrett previously found that some of these continue to work to address inadequate pension payments.
Financial anxiety about meeting day-to-day living expenses, or simply making ends meet – was the main reason to stay or go back to work
— Dr Catherine Elliott O’Dare, Trinity College Dublin
Ms Clark said, “More and more older women are now re-entering the workforce after taking a leave of care in order to earn an income and increase their pension premiums to qualify for pension benefits. ‘ said. It is a fully-contributory state pension and, unlike non-contributory plans, is not means-tested. “
A number of studies suggest that more people are physically able to work and often want to remain socially connected, and that the general health of the population is better in later life. There is also a factor. In the 2015 European Working Conditions Survey, 20% of those surveyed across all age groups said they wanted to keep working “as late as possible”.
But for many, need ultimately seems to be an important part of their motivation.
“For all the older workers we spoke to, I think economic needs and concerns were a factor,” said Dublin Co., co-author of the Geary Institute report last year, Low Wage Older Workers. Dr. Catherine Elliott O’Dare of Trinity College says:
“Financial anxiety about meeting daily living expenses, just making ends meet, was the main reason for staying or returning to work,” she says.
Labor shortages in many sectors, combined with an increase in the retirement age of civil servants and public sector employees to 70, have greatly expanded the range of opportunities available.
“There’s more flexibility in the market because it’s harder operationally to get people to actually do the work,” says Mary Connaughton of the Chartered Institute of Human Resource Development (CIPD). ‘ said. We’ve seen it in hospitality and events. “
Industries such as retail also see particular value in the experience of older employees being able to play a role, she said. “They bring a certain maturity to the conversation and can bring first-hand knowledge of the decisions buyers are making, which generally makes employers more open to hiring people, especially on a part-time basis. I can see you there.”
According to Professor Barrett, this is an important factor, suggesting that many older workers are seeking accommodations to make continued engagement in the workplace more attractive or realistic. do.
“For a lot of people, companies design it so that they can step back a bit and still be able to stay in the organization.
Barriers remain, such as some jobs being particularly difficult for older workers and some employers favoring younger workers.
He suggests that part-time work is an obvious factor, but gives the example of a factory in Germany, where owners provided more seats and other practical physical supports to older workers. Was.
“There were no young workers in the company, and if we didn’t relieve the physical strain on the older workers, they would have to go out of business,” he says.
However, barriers remain, such as some jobs being particularly difficult for older workers and some employers prefer younger workers. Things may be changing in some cases, but even if companies want to keep employees longer, they often prefer to maintain a mandatory retirement age rather than using fixed-term contracts.
The Employment Conference, organized by the employers group IBEC, recently found that 248 out of 300 companies have mandatory retirement plans, but 184 continue to employ older workers on fixed-term contracts. heard.
At the conference, many companies were happy to extend the employment of older workers within the current legal framework, but were unsure about the impact of future measures rooted in EU social policies on intergenerational equity. , reported that there was also concern that the use of the retirement system could be further restricted. Strengthen the position of those who want to age and stay in the workplace for a long time.
Today’s proposal that the use of a second fixed-term contract requires careful legal consideration indicates that employers, not employees, are likely to set the terms of such extensions. rice field.
The Irish Trades Union Congress advocated for legal reform to address a number of issues with submissions to the Pensions Commission, which said the Commission would “by introducing legislation to allow the retirement age in employment contracts to be It was recommended to match the age of Forcing employees to continue employment up to the age of receiving a national pension. According to the Ministry of Business, Trade and Employment, this is expected to happen in 2024.
Meanwhile, an increase in age-related equality lawsuits in workplace relations committees (WRC) The increase from 186 in 2021 to 514 last year shows that older workers who feel discriminated against are increasingly willing to fight in their own corners, Age Actions said. This should be supported, says Clark.
“It’s positive to see people taking advantage of the legal framework available to combat ageism in the workplace,” she says. “Unfortunately, however, filing a lawsuit against the WRC is not covered by the free legal aid scheme, so people will have to have the means to pay legal fees or the ability to defend themselves. That’s what we want to change.”