Employers given incentives for not discriminating on age

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Employers given incentives for not discriminating on age

The Federal Government has launched a new program aimed at giving mature-age workers a fair go in the workplace. The Corporate Champion plan includes cash bonuses for employers who recruit mature-age job seekers.

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The Federal Government has launched a new program aimed at giving mature-age workers a fair go in the workplace. The Corporate Champion plan includes cash bonuses for employers who recruit mature-age job seekers.

Minister for Employment Participation Kate Ellis was interviewed on Ten News last week. She noted that on average it takes people over 55 twice as long to find work compared to young workers: ‘An average of 95 weeks in New South Wales is a demoralisingly long time to be hunting for a job.’

Good for business
 
Studies show that on average a mature-age worker adds over $2000 to the bottom line of a business each and every year compared to other workers. Ellis notes that a primary reason for this is older workers are less likely to take sickies. They’re more likely to be retained. They’re not looking for necessarily the next big career promotion, what other jobs they might be able to take and leave the business.

Ellis commented that there is no doubt discrimination exists:
‘That’s one of the reasons we established an Age Discrimination Commissioner. But I also think there’s a number of good employers out there that are just not quite sure how to tackle this. I mean it may mean keeping mature workers — may mean changing their roles, lessening the physical side of their job and the like. And sometimes it’s just about getting assistance to restructure businesses and to have a look at best practice when it comes to recruitment and retention — and that’s what we want to work with businesses to do better.’
Corporate Champion plan
 
The Corporate Champion plan is built around working in partnership with business:
‘… we’ve run a trial program with 25 businesses around Australia. We want to make this a national program with over 250 businesses signing up to say they’re going to be corporate champions for mature age workers. And we’re going to work with them to make sure that they can assist their staff, that they can recruit mature staff and that they can show the rest of the business community the benefits in doing this.’
Ellis concluded:
‘One of the things that can be really tricky with age discrimination though is that it’s not always overt. Sometimes people feel that it’s because of their age but their employers aren’t actually spelling that out. One of the reasons we’ve appointed the Age Discrimination Commissioner is so that we’ve got someone on the job 24/7 making sure that where there is evidence we crack down on it and we stamp it out.

Because when you look at Australia’s future we’re going to have a massive increase in the number of mature age people in our society. We know by 2050 that people over 55 will make up 20 per cent of the workforce. We simply can’t afford to be discarding them and throwing them on the scrap heap long before their due.’
More information
 
Employers can find out more by phoning 13 17 64.
 
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