par Planet Labor
The government launched a consultation with the social partners on its program entitled "Inter-generation solidarity – action plan to increase the professional activity of people over 50." This plan, aimed at facing the demographic challenge, contains a series of draft reforms to bring people over 50 back to work and to maintain seniors active.
In Poland, according to Eurostat figures, 28.1% of seniors (55-64) are working today, while the Lisbon strategy sets a 50% employment rate for seniors by 2020. To reach it, the government prepared an action plan which encourages companies a) to hire and keep seniors and, b) to increase these workers’ skills to make them more attractive on the labor market.
To that end, the program gives a series of objectives:
- Improve working conditions, promote the employment of workers over 50 and deal with age. The plan proposes 1/ to reform working regulations to make it easier for companies to deal with age; 2/ that the State should pay for campaigns promoting age and a positive image of seniors; 3/ to include in the government’s priorities pilot programs in favor of good practices in terms of age management, and appeal to social dialogue to keep seniors active.
- Improve the skills of workers over 50, by generalizing free self-evaluation of skills, making continuous training more available for people over 45 or even by adapting training offers to the needs of this category of workers.
- Decrease the costs linked to seniors’ employment by reducing the period of maintained wages for the sick leaves of older workers and by exempting companies from some social contributions. In addition, the plan proposes to reduce seniors’ special protection period against dismissal to two years before legal retirement age, as opposed to four today.
- Activization of unemployed people over 50 and of people threatened of loosing their job through a strengthen support of these people (advice, coaching, training, skills assessment…), as well as adjusting public and private employment services’ offer to seniors.
- Occupational integration for disabled people: in many cases, disablement comes between 40 and 50, which is why the plan underlines the need for quick occupational integration, 1/ by simplifying the procedures of the system of incentives to employ disabled people; 2/ by encouraging employers to develop equal opportunities programs; 3/ by promoting the fight against discrimination on the labor market or even 4/ by decreasing benefits which don’t favor a return to work.
- Increase women’s employment by developing services which favor work-life balance, notably the development of nursery schools and the promotion of child care services.
Increasing legal retirement age. These six objectives are completed with the increase of legal retirement age and the gradual leveling of retirement age for men and women. The social partners are invited to express their proposals by the end of May. The consultation should lead to an "implementation document", with a list of legislative reforms and of non-legislative actions (information campaigns, conferences, communication…), which should come into effect in September 2008. however, this agenda could be disturbed: a meeting of the tripartite Commission (dialogue body between unions, employers and the government), planned for April 24, 2008, should have been dedicated to the debate on this plan, but government representatives didn’t come, shocking unions.
Planet Labor, May 6, 2008, No. 080365 – www.planetlabor.com