Saturday, June 22, 2024

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75 is the new 65

Age no longer bothers companies

Every fifth employer (22%) plans to employ seniors, according to a study by the Progres Group. This number may increase if the Polish government’s plans to offer subsidies to companies for employing an older person looking for a job, e.g. a retiree, come into force. There is no shortage of people willing to work over the age of 60. According to the SeniorApp report, the number of people aged 60+ wanting to take up additional work increased by 27% during the year.

Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Estonia, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Switzerland are countries where professional activity among people aged 55 to 64 exceeds 74% (OECD data, Q2-Q3 2023). Poland, where the professional activity rate is 58.4%. (55-64 years of age), far from Iceland (82.8%), slightly closer to the average of EU countries (64.2%). Poland is also ahead of Norway (73.4%), Portugal (67.7%), Slovakia (67.3%), the UK (65.3%), the US (64.5%) and Chile (61.1%).

The situation in Poland may change and the economic activity rate may increase not only among people aged 55 to 64, but also among those aged 65+. This is all due to planned changes to the Act on Employment Promotion and Labor Market Institutions. The new regulations will support the employment of older people, including those over 60 (women) and 65 (men). The government will provide financial support for companies that recruit retirees and sign a three-year employment contract with them. The monthly funding will amount to approximately PLN 2,150. Within two years, the employer will receive a total of 24 payments, i.e. a total of approximately PLN 51,600. No subsidy will be granted in the retiree’s last year of employment.

“Until now, older people often had little chance of getting a full-time job after the age of 60. Worse still, they weren’t even invited to job interviews. Companies thought of them only as retirees, not as candidates worth hiring into the team. Fortunately, this is starting to change, because every fifth company wants to employ older staff,” says Cezary Maciołek, president of the Progres Group. “The proposed subsidy for the employment of Silvers is good news not only for companies, but also for people who, despite having acquired the right to benefits paid by ZUS, still want to work. Taking into account their knowledge and experience, they will certainly be competitive and may have an advantage over younger people, because there is a shortage of candidates with competences on the labor market,” Maciołek adds.

In 2022, over 1.4 million people aged 60-89 worked in Poland (BAEL Population Economic Activity Survey). The professional activity rate of this age group was 15.7% and the employment rate was 15.5%. The majority of professionally active seniors were men – 979,000 of them (i.e. 67.1%). There was also no shortage of professionally inactive people aged 60-74 – 5.5 million. The main reason for their passivity is retirement, and the second important reason is illness or disability (GUS). However, this does not apply to every silvers, because many of them are still working. According to SeniorApp data, people with the right to a pension or at pre-retirement age – registered on the platform – most often take care of others and provide services for making small purchases or cleaning apartments, thus repairing their finances.

Running an unregistered business is becoming more popular because it allows you to earn extra money for your household budget, but no more than 75% of the lowest monthly salary and does not require settling accounts with the tax office or paying ZUS contributions. For people over 60 years of age it is a great convenience and often a salvation from poverty. In Poland, where ZUS benefits often do not ensure a comfortable life, working in retirement becomes a way to improve the financial situation.

From March 2024, the lowest pension in Poland is PLN 1,780.96 gross, and the average benefit according to data for March last year is PLN 3,482.63 gross. Data from the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) also show that the largest percentage of pensions – 13.8% – range from PLN 2,200.01 to PLN 2,600. Some people can count on larger amounts from ZUS. Poles receive a pension higher than PLN 7,000 and transfers of over PLN 10,000 go to 36,900 people (March 2023). In Poland, where ZUS benefits often do not ensure a comfortable life, working in retirement becomes a way to improve the financial situation.

According to the SeniorApp study, for many seniors the pension is not enough for a decent life. 21% of respondents admit that they need financial help. Moreover, they point out that health-related expenses are significant. 51% claim that the prices of medical services and tests are too high for them, and for 43% drug prices are the problem. When asked about their financial situation, every third senior admits that it has deteriorated over the last year, while for 14% of respondents it improved and in 53% of cases remained unchanged.

“Just a few years ago, temporary workers over 60 years of age they came to us mainly on issues related to retirement. Nowadays, instead of staying at home, they often ask about the possibility of continuing work. Moreover, the number of people from the 60+ group taking part in recruitment is growing. Employment is not possible in every industry and not every position, because in many cases very good health or physical strength is required, but the current labor market gives older people many opportunities to earn money. They stop thinking about retirement, and the border of retirement is shifting, and even though it is not formalized, for a large part of people aged 75 or over, it’s the new 65 years,” adds Maciołek.

There are professions in which the many years of experience of specialists are extremely valued and have never been a major problem. These include doctors, lawyers, teachers and financiers, for whom age works to their advantage and – if they want, they are willing to be employed, even when they are approaching retirement. Openness to older staff can also be seen in the trade, logistics, nursing and professional drivers sectors, but also in production. These are the industries that, according to data from the Progres Group, temporarily employ the most people from the 50-60 and 60+ age group. Moreover, statistics from the Central Statistical Office show that in 2021 the largest percentage of working people over 50 years of age was recorded in the electricity, gas, steam and hot water production and supply areas.

Sylwia Ziemacka
Sylwia Ziemacka
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