Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s plan to offer employers cash incentives to hire older workers could backfire, according to an ageing workforce expert.
Under the new policy, employers will be given an a Seniors Employment Incentive Payments of up to $3,250 when employing a worker on a full-time basis paid once the employee has been retained continuously over a six month period.
The Coalition believes this could help up to 900,000 people aged 50-65 years get back into work.
The plan, designed to help overcome ageism in the job market, would begin from July 2011 and be evaluated after three years.
Catriona Byrne, director at ageing workforce specialists SageCo, told HR Leader that the announcement could swing some votes, but warned that it contains mixed messages.
“We welcome anything that stimulates employers to think differently about hiring older workers,” she said.
“But the plan could backfire. Who wants to be in a group where you only get a job if your employer gets a handout? It could come across as a bit patronising.”
Byrne added the cash incentive should just be an element in an overall review of ageism in the workforce.
“Employers should be looking at how they structure their workplaces in order to accommodate mature workers,” she said.