Think-tank calls for boost to older working population

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Helping more older people into work should be at the heart of the Government’s plans for full employment, according to a new report.

The Resolution Foundation said there was potential to increase employment among 50-to-64-year-olds by around 920,000 in the coming years, and by 240,000 for those aged between 65 and 69.

The think-tank said too many people were forced to leave the labour market early because they they are ill or have caring responsibilities.

Workers who become ill, or take a break to look after a relative, should have the right to return to a job, it was argued.

This would help firms keep in touch with their staff and reduce the risk of people leaving the world of work, said the report.

Laura Gardiner, senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Rising employment among older workers has been one of Britain’s biggest labour market successes of recent years.

“This jobs phenomenon has been driven by a number of factors, including the rising state pension age, abolition of the default retirement age and better flexible working practices.

“But we can do far more to boost employment among older workers, in particular by helping them to stay in work when they take on caring responsibilities or have to adjust to ill-health.

“Many employers already see the benefits of holding on to these experienced members of staff but this attitude needs to spread throughout the labour market.”