Fabian Demicoli

Employment policies to promote active ageing

 The phenomenon
of ageing population among EU Member States including Malta whilst it is an
indication of for instance a sound healthcare system is on the other hand
weighing heavily on public finances in particular through growing expenditure
on health care and European Employment Observatory named Employment policies to
promote active ageing, 2012 written by Dr. Manwel Debono director of the Centre
for Labour Studies (CLS) at the University of Malta, provides a very good
insight about this phenomenon in Malta.

 

Situation

Malta
registered a 1.2% increase in the number of persons aged 55 years and older
between 2008 and 2010, which is twice the EU average increase over the same
period. Malta's employment rate relating to persons above 55 years of age is
significantly lower when compared to the EU average. Whereas the rates among
55-59 and the 60-64 age groups are 11.6% and 16.3% lower than the EU average.
This gap is more significant among older women where Malta registers the
highest inactivity rate. In 2010 the employment rate of female workers in Malta
falling in the 55-59 age bracket, was 52.1% lower than that of males while the
rate for female workers in the 60-64 age group was so low that it is not
captured by surveys.

The report
makes reference to a qualitative study carried out by the Employment and
Training Corporation (ETC) about the reasons why older men leave the labour
market before the formal retirement age which are quite complex. The main
reasons were related to redundancies, poor working conditions, business
difficulties, poor health, and marital separations.

Moreover early
retirement schemes, financial stability and the fact that relatives no longer
depended on the person's earnings are important ‘pull' factors.

 

Measures promoting active ageing

The report give
details about which are the policies that promote active ageing. It points out
aspects contained in the labour legislation, such as the last-in first-out
concept and the ‘Temporary Agency Workers Regulations' (2010) which are
advantageous for older workers.

Nevertheless it
also refers to the media publicity campaigns to promote active ageing that were
carried out in recent years that have promoted the qualities of older workers
among employers, and tried to encourage older workers to improve their
employability through lifelong learning. On the other hand the report is
critical towards the application of early retirement schemes as a means of
reducing the deficits of ailing public sector companies such as the relatively
recent case of Airmalta.

 

Recommendations

Among the
recommendations brought forward by this report one finds:- the need to increase
awareness among employers to employ older workers; more EU funds to assist
older long-term unemployed persons, through empowerment programmes imparting
general employability skills and specific work-related skills in emerging
economic areas; the development of a comprehensive and consistent approach in
dealing with lifelong participation in society needs to be developed and
implemented in which lifelong learning and lifelong career guidance are given
their due attention.

 

 

The complete
version of the report can be accessed through the weblink:

http://www.eu-employmentobservatory.net/resources/reviews/Malta-EPPAA-Feb2012-final.pdf

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