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Age Barriers in the Workforce Addressed


Monday, 3rd June 2013 at 10:26 am
Staff Reporter
Australia needs to create a national mature age workforce plan to address barriers faced by mature age job seekers, according to an Australian Law Reform Commission Report.

Monday, 3rd June 2013
at 10:26 am
Staff Reporter


2 Comments


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Age Barriers in the Workforce Addressed
Monday, 3rd June 2013 at 10:26 am

Australia needs to create a national mature age workforce plan to address barriers faced by mature age job seekers, according to an Australian Law Reform Commission Report.

The report: Access All Ages- Older Workers and Commonwealth Laws, included 36 recommendations which addressed the areas of recruitment, employment, health, safety, workers compensation, insurance, social security and superannuation.

Australian Law Reform Commission President Professor Rosalind Croucher said the recommendations had been developed in the light of six inter-linking principles of participation, independence, self-agency, system stability, system coherence, and fairness—that assisted in balancing a range of competing priorities.

“The ALRC suggests that a combination of legislative and regulatory reform is needed, together with measures to increase education and awareness and address perceptions and stereotypes surrounding mature age workers,” he said.

Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan AO said Australia needed the continuing contribution of older people, as workers or as volunteers.
“Most older people want to continue contributing. Many need to for their financial and personal well-being,” she said.
“ The Australian Government, along with all employers large and small, should act on the recommendations and insights of this report and immediately start tearing down barriers.”

Commissioner Ryan called on the community as a whole to abandon negative stereotypes of older people and support their access to jobs and other productive work.

The ALRC considers the Report’s recommendations, taken together, will provide:

  • a coordinated policy response to enabling mature age workforce participation;
  • consistency across Commonwealth laws and between Commonwealth and state and territory laws to support mature age workforce participation;
  • a reduction in age discrimination;
  • a greater awareness of mature age workers’ rights and entitlements;
  • support for maintaining attachment to the workforce for mature age people; and
  • work environments, practices and processes that are appropriate for mature age workers.

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten said the Government was already acting on a key recommendation.

“We have before the Parliament, legislation which amends the Fair Work Act to provide a right to request flexible working arrangements for mature-age employees and those with caring responsibilities,” he said.

“The report is great because it doesn’t just provide an insight into the challenges older people face in gaining employment, but it gives us a genuine road map of what to do about it.”

Shorten said the Government would consider the Commission’s other recommendations.

View the report here.



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2 Comments

  • Anonymous Anonymous says:

    From my own experiences and my friends both as a candidate and a recruiter, age discrimination is widespread devaluing the experience and worth of older candidates. Older candidates have both the skills required and vast personal experience just don’t get interviews.

    Some many employers are so specific with their demands that it filters all older candidates.

    Whilst I would hate to see a system where employers could have their selection process opened up to the light of day – I think it would need to be opened up to breakdown the current level of discrimination.

    Over 55

  • Anonymous Anonymous says:

    I am relieved to read that the legislation to be approved amends the Fair Work Act to provide a right to request flexible working arrangements for mature-age employees and those with caring responsibilities.

    I requested such an opportunity last year, as a full-time teacher who was recovering from a major illness while in a situation where I was caring for a relative with a range of disabilities who was awaiting a permanent aged care placement.

    I produced a letter from my doctor explaining that this situation was impacting greatly on my capacity to perform my work-related duties, so the doctor suggested that the impact would be reduced greatly if I were to be able to continue working but on a more flexible, part-time basis.

    My request was refused by my principal, who stated simply “that doesn’t work in teaching” even though I was witnessing it working within that very school among teachers who were returning from maternity leave and other leave situations. As a result, I had no other option than to resign from my permanent position with the NSW Department of Education. At 57, I am unemployed, now seeking work and unable to obtain anything because of my age, career cut short by eight years because of a difficult year in my life over which I had very little or no control and was denied an opportunity to take control in a way that I could have done at the time.

    Angry? Yes, very, particularly as I was replaced immediately by a 32 year old casual who had been simply waiting in the wings to snap up my job. I will be looking forward to the establishment of this legislation.

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