Submission to the Senate Select Committee on Job Security

COTA Australia welcomed the establishment of the Senate Select Committee on Job Security and appreciates the opportunity to present this submission, with a specific focus on mature age and older workers. It is not commonly appreciated that many older people in the workforce are especially vulnerable to insecure work and its many negative implications. This submission sets out that vulnerability and present recommendations on what should be done to address it, including taking stronger action against age discrimination and ageism.

In our submission we discuss the following key issues:

  • Older people are making a growing – and much needed – contribution to the workforce, but too many are denied a secure transition to retirement
  • Once older workers lose their ‘career job’, they are more vulnerable to job insecurity, long-term unemployment and poverty
  • Precarious employment is not just a problem for young people
  • Many older people lost their jobs in the recession
  • Older workers’ employment options are often constrained by their qualifications
  • Age discrimination in employment is widespread and many are forced to retire early

Our submission makes recommendations designed to:

  1. Improve opportunities for career guidance and training for older workers
  2. Encourage employment of older people through wage subsidies
  3. Ensure employment services are personalised and responsive to the needs of older unemployed workers
  4. Improve matching of older workers to suitable job vacancies
  5. Ensure that unemployed workers can cover the essentials and search for jobs
  6. Combat age discrimination in employment
  7. Open up more opportunities for secure part-time employment with predictable hours