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Are older Aussies’ jobs threatened by COVID-19?

  • May 27 2020
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Are older Aussies’ jobs threatened by COVID-19?

By Cameron Micallef
May 27 2020

Mature workers are likely to have negative outcomes in the workplace, including poorer conditions and an increased likelihood of being made redundant, a workplace compensation lawyer explains.

older Aussies jobs

Are older Aussies’ jobs threatened by COVID-19?

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  • May 27 2020
  • Share

Mature workers are likely to have negative outcomes in the workplace, including poorer conditions and an increased likelihood of being made redundant, a workplace compensation lawyer explains.

older Aussies jobs

Gold Coast community issues lawyer Bruce Simmonds said he’s had calls from mature-age workers dumped from their jobs as firms shut down or retrench due to COVID-19, and this has led to more unemployed people competing for fewer jobs.

Mr Simmonds highlighted “an issue nobody wants to admit to”, but he said every year he has multiple claims or inquiries from mature-age workers dumped from their jobs.

“Too often, our mature workers are exploited and mistreated by employers and, sadly, the coronavirus upheavals have been used as an excuse by some employers to either dump staff or exploit them,” he noted. 

Age discrimination in the workforce continues in 2020, Mr Simmonds said, with mature-age workers often being the largest group on Newstart, or JobSeeker — as it is currently known.

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“I have had quite a number of clients, all late 50s or in their 60s, made redundant from previous jobs and needing to stay in the workforce. There are agencies that score thousands of dollars in government incentives to place these people in new jobs, but too often, the new jobs are a nightmare for the worker,” he said.

The lawyer highlighted the potential this has on fair work practices, with older Australians not being able to complain if they receive poorer conditions.

“If the worker complains, they are sacked or threatened with the sack, knowing it can be hard for older workers to find a new job. Intimidation is used to silence them. Older workers are the people with the least rights in the workforce and generally the unions can’t or won’t do anything to help them.”

Mr Simmonds believes there is a changing demographic when it comes to unfair dismissal claims.

He said: “The age group for such claims now is much older. In the past you’d see them for 30- to 40-year-olds, now its people in their late 50s and 60s.

“Because of age and injury, they’re the first to go in a shake-up. Also mature workers sometimes have injuries just starting to show because of age aggravation of pre-existing degenerative conditions. The older we are, the less we bounce.

Are older Aussies’ jobs threatened by COVID-19?
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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