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How pensioners could help solve Australia’s labour shortages

  • December 09 2021
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How pensioners could help solve Australia’s labour shortages

By Jon Bragg
December 09 2021

Business associations across the country say pensioners should be incentivised to work more.

pensioners

How pensioners could help solve Australia’s labour shortages

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  • December 09 2021
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Business associations across the country say pensioners should be incentivised to work more.

pensioners

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has claimed that allowing pensioners to earn more without impacting their pension would address the country’s skills shortage.

Under the current work bonus scheme, pensioners are able to earn an average of $480 per fortnight before their payments are reduced at an effective marginal tax rate of at least 50 per cent.

Pensioners can only earn the equivalent of the minimum wage for one day each week before their payments are reduced, according to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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“There is an army of older workers, ready and willing to return to the workplace. However, skilled aged pension recipients have very little incentive to re-enter the workplace,” said Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Andrew McKellar.

“In raising the work bonus threshold, pensioners would be allowed the opportunity to earn more, while businesses who are struggling to find staff would have access to workers, filling thousands of job vacancies.”

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has joined forces with the chambers of commerce from each state and territory to call on the federal government to raise the threshold.

Since skilled migrants, working holiday-makers and international students are unable to return to Australia due to the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the chambers of commerce said older skilled workers would be key to Australia’s economic recovery.

“As the national, state and territory chambers of commerce, our united demand reflects the fact that businesses right across the country are crying out for workers,” said Mr McKellar.

“This is a simple step the federal government must take to grow our workforce, boost our productivity and drive our economic recovery.”

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has shown that the number of additional hours worked by Australians aged over 65 has increased from 685,000 hours two years ago to more than 978,000 hours.

Fifty-two per cent of business leaders in a recent survey said it is now more challenging to find qualified employees compared to before the pandemic.

How pensioners could help solve Australia’s labour shortages
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