Increasing numbers of over-65s will require flexible working rights

Increasing number of over-65s will require flexible working rightsWe can get so preoccupied with meeting the younger generation’s more flexible approach to work, that we miss the fact that a much greater challenge for employers is in managing the needs of the older workforce. Figures released by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) show that nearly a quarter of a million more people aged 65 and over have remained at work since the default retirement age was abolished three years ago. This means that more than a million (103,000) over 65s now choose to stay in work, compared to 874,000 in the quarter October to December 2011 – an increase of 229,000. There are now 9.1 million people aged 50 plus at work, accounting for 29.7 per cent of all those in work aged 16 plus in the UK (30.6 million). This means employers not only need to accommodate an increasingly diverse range of ages but must enable older workers to work more flexibly as they wind down from working life.

Explained Pensions Minister Steve Webb said: “We have to wake up to the needs and expectations of today’s workforce – 30 per cent of whom are now aged over 50 and 1 million over 65. These people have a massive role to play in our economy and society and many quite rightly want to carry on using the skills and knowledge they have honed over decades and also pass them on to younger colleagues.”

“We are now supporting older workers further by extending the right to request flexible working and providing new pension freedoms so they can combine pension income with earnings, and therefore plan a gradual retirement.”

Ros Altmann, the government Business Champion for Older Workers, added: “Encouraging and enabling more later life working offers a massive potential financial boost both for individuals and the economy, as well as a more satisfying lifestyle for older generations and their families.?

“Particularly facilitating a phase of part-time working to ease people into full retirement can bring significant benefits but that means overcoming ageism and unfair negative stereotyping of older workers.”