Give pensioners choice to re-enter workforce

Giving pensioners the choice to return to the workforce would be a boost for Australian businesses struggling to find staff.

Australia’s largest and most representative business network, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, welcomes consideration of the issue at the Federal Government’s upcoming Employment Summit.

“Older Australian workers with invaluable experience and skills would be a much-needed boost to the workforce,” ACCI chief executive Andrew McKellar said.

“By removing the barriers for pensioners who want to work, we can make a real difference in their lives and also help businesses struggling to find staff.

“The wealth of knowledge and experience that our aged pensioners could bring back into our workforce would help close the skills gap and encourage knowledge to be passed to younger workers.”

Around 60 per cent of Australians support changes that would allow retirees to work unlimited hours without losing any of their pension.

“ACCI is heartened by the bipartisan approach to considering this policy and acknowledges Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton for discussing the idea,” Mr McKellar said.

Last year, ACCI and its state chamber network called on the Government to encourage more pensioners back into the workforce by allowing them to earn more income without losing benefits.

“The disincentive for aged pension recipients to re-enter the workforce is significant. Currently, a pensioner can earn an average of $480 a fortnight, or $12,840 a year, before their payments are reduced.

“This is the equivalent of only one day a week at the minimum wage before their pension is reduced resulting in an effective marginal tax rate of at least 50 per cent.

“The shortage of skills and labour is the number one challenge facing business across the country. If businesses don’t have access to the workers they need, they cannot operate at full capacity, and cease to remain internationally competitive.”

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