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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/help-and-support-for-older-workers/help-and-support-for-older-workers
This page provides guidance about employing older workers and working past 50. It is aimed at:
We’re living longer, healthier lives and have the opportunity to think differently about working as we get older.
Recent years have seen more older people in employment than ever before, but many people over 50 are at risk of leaving the workforce early, and not necessarily because they want to.
Staying in work and taking control of when and how you retire can give you more money in later life as well as benefit your health and wellbeing.
The Business Champion for Older Workers
The government appointed Andy Briggs, Chief Executive Officer of Phoenix Group as Business Champion for Older Workers. He is also chair of the Business in the Community Age at Work leadership team.
This team leads on the government’s work to support employers to hire and retrain older workers by promoting the benefits of older workers to employers. The Business Champion is a voluntary, unpaid, non-political appointment.
Guidance for employers
Business in the Community publish factsheets, research and guidance which support the retention, retraining and recruitment of older workers. They have also published a toolkit to support people during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) provide free advice for employers and employees on employment legislation, including advice on age and the workplace.
Working in a flexible way can be a good bridge into retirement for individuals. Offering flexible working can be a good way for you to keep your older employees’ valuable skills and experience.
Find out about how Lorraine and her employer have found the perfect balance.
Timewise have created a toolkit to support individuals with flexible working in the long term.
You may want to consider offering your employees a mid-life MOT which allows people in mid-life to take stock and make plans for their job, health and finances. This can help to shape their future at work.
Fuller working lives
DWP have produced a video giving advice on making the most of the talent of older workers:
The ACAS ten obligations for employers guide provides some key considerations for employers to reduce the chance of age discrimination happening.
Supporting older workers
DWP have produced a video with ideas on how you can engage your older workers:
Further advice on supporting your older workers is available from:
- Ageing Better’s guide on how to support your older workers
- Age UK’s best practice guide for recruiters
Employment support for the over 50s
Returning to work
Jobcentre Plus can help if you’re out of work. It may be able to provide training, for example with IT literacy and English language skills. It will also be able to signpost you to further sources of information and jobs in the local community.
Returning to the workforce after any period of time away can be a difficult process. To ease your transition towards employment, the government provides guidance on finding a job.
Use the ‘Find a job’ service (previously Universal Jobmatch).
Age UK offer further independent advice on how to find a job as an older worker.
Developing your skills
Developing your skills and ensuring your suitability for the workplace is essential at every age.
Older workers need not be deterred by IT requirements. If you feel that you could improve your computer skills there are many opportunities available, before and during your time at work.
Find out about improving your English, maths and IT skills.
Guidance is available from Age UK about training in technology and using the internet.
Get information about life long learning and adult education from the National Careers Service.
Improving your CV
A professional and clear CV can make the difference between securing an interview or not. If you need to develop your CV, the National Careers Service can help you at every stage of the process. Contact an adviser for help.
Your local Jobcentre may also provide helpful advice and resources.
Apprenticeships aren’t just for the young. They give you an opportunity to gain the skills and experience to succeed in a new field.
Almost anyone over the age of 16 can apply for an apprenticeship and take a major step towards building a new career.
Self-employment is a popular option for many older workers who want to build on past experience, develop specialist knowledge and increase control over their working lives.
UnLtd support social entrepreneurs throughout the UK. They have frequently worked with over 50s looking to make a difference in their communities and beyond.
If you’re already receiving certain benefits, the government’s New Enterprise Allowance can provide money, support, and mentorship to help you start your own business.
Flexible working and retirement options
Flexibility in the workplace is a benefit to all, and can lead to greater productivity and work satisfaction and lower employee turnover.
Working flexibly or part-time could be a good bridge into retirement. Flexible working could help you adjust in a more gradual way, or spend more time doing something else (for example a hobby or caring responsibilities).
An overview of flexible working, including the legal requirements for employers is available.
Acas provide guidance for both employers and employees on rights and responsibilities when requesting flexible working.
Citizens Advice provide guidance on negotiating flexible working hours.
Centre for Aging Better and Timewise have developed an employer toolkit on flexible working for over 50s.
If you’re thinking of retraining, or moving into a different industry, then you could consider a career review.
Career advice is useful for people of every age and a career review could help to point you in the right direction, identifying appropriate employment for older workers.
The National Careers Service provide a skills health check to help you plan the next steps in your career.
The default retirement age has been removed, so in most cases employers can no longer force employees to retire just because they reach a certain age.
Combining work and grandchildren
As the workforce ages, more and more grandparents will be working. It’s important to acknowledge the contribution they make, both in work and in childcare.
If you’re looking after your grandchildren, you may be able to get National Insurance credits to boost your State Pension.
Local support for carers
It may be that you provide unpaid support for someone who could not manage without this help. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail or disabled, or who has mental health or other day-to-day care needs.
Carers Centres are independent charities that deliver a wide range of local support services to meet the needs of carers in their own communities. Find centres offering services for carers near you.
Pensions and finance in later life
Plan for your retirement income from your State Pension or a private pension scheme.
The Pensions Advisory Service provide information about the different pensions on offer.
You can claim State Pension while you’re in work once you reach State Pension age.
However, you don’t have to claim your State Pension as soon as you reach State Pension age. You may get extra money if you delay (defer) your State Pension.
If you decide to continue working when you reach State Pension age, you’ll no longer have to pay National Insurance.
Find out how you may be affected by the new State Pension if you reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016.
If you’re under State Pension age you can get a pension forecast online.
It’s never too late to start saving for a pension. With automatic enrolment into a workplace pension it is even easier to do just that.
Since 6 April 2015, individuals aged 55 and over with defined contribution pension savings have been able to access their pension pot how and when they want to. (This is subject to their marginal rate of income tax, typically 20% or 40%.) They can do this either through their current scheme or by transferring their savings to a scheme that offers flexible access options.
Further information can be found through Pension Wise, a free and impartial government service.
Managing health and disability
The NHS provide useful guidance on how to remain active, healthy and fit.
Age UK also offer in-depth information on maintaining a healthy diet, body and mind.
Disability Confident campaign
Through the Disability Confident campaign, the government is working with employers to give everyone the confidence and capability to enter the workplace.
Guidance is available for employers about employing disabled people and people with health conditions, including what reasonable adjustments you may need to make.
The Clear Company provide a range of resources to help businesses and organisations have the confidence to recruit and retain disabled talent.
The NHS offer specific advice for employers on making workplace adjustments for people with mental health conditions.
The Health and Safety Executive offer further examples of workplace adjustments and guidance for employers.
ACAS provides guidance if you feel you have been treated unfairly at work because of your age.
What the government is doing to help older workers
The government published the policy paper Fuller Working Lives: a partnership approach in February 2017 with the aim of increasing the retention, retraining and recruitment of older workers. The strategy is led by employers who understand the business case to drive change.
Through a combination of measures, the government will monitor progress on Fuller Working Lives. The government will publish annual data on economic labour market status on individuals aged 50 and over, including trends over time.
We’re always interested in discovering new case studies, highlighting examples of best practice and sharing positive stories about older workers.
If you have any stories to share or any comments about this guidance, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll ask you to complete a case study consent form so we can publicise your story and spread good practice.