Archive for June, 2009
Today I Chaired a NEEOPA forum on the National Employment Standards Right to Request legislation which comes into effect 1 January 2010. It was an interesting and informative session, with a comprehensive presentation on the legislation by Juliet Bourke of Aequus Partners, and case studies by ABC Corporation and Sydney Water (winner of the 2008 Diversity@Work Award for Work/Life Balance). Essentially the NES form part of the Fair Work Act and will kick off with the ‘Right to Request’ flexible work aimed at working parents.
It was interesting to note however that in other countries (including the UK and NZ), the legislation initially launched for working parents has been broadened to include other workforce segments – including mature age workers. Attendees at today’s session seemed very much in favour of adopting this from day one. If they are going to implement manager and staff education programs along with practical policies and guidelines in readiness for January 2010, then they can cascade it further than working parents. The Right to Request can be a valuable tool in the kit when it comes to promoting best practise and enhancing an employer brand. All a move in the right direction…
Over my ten (something!) years spanning the field of career management, I have coached hundreds of mature workers who find themselves at a crossroads. Just recently I was asked to respond to one such candidate in an edition of HR Leader, Australia’s leading publication for HR professionals. Essentially I think the advice for mature workers comes down to three key principles.
- stay current
- stay connected
- stay positive
Last night on ABC radio’s Nightlife hosted by the golden voiced Tony Delroy and supported by a fabulous band of producers, we had three different callers contribute to the discussion on what ‘the extension of the retirement age means for you’. When I look at what was different between the three callers it was their attitude and sense of responsibility for their future. We heard examples of retraining at the age of 63 to be a lawyer specialising in insolvency and wanting to work until at least 75. We heard about a willingness to work casually and flexibly but a suspicion of ageism from employers. And we heard about the negative impact of the extension of the pension eligiblity age if you put your retirement plans solely in the hands of the government.
Friend of SageCo’s – Toby Marshall, featured on last night’s ABC 7.30 report. In Toby’s inimitable style, he challenged the ‘sanctimonius waffle’ of employers and the euphimisms many might use to not employ a mature, experienced worker. We work with many organisations who are taking steps to change this. We’ve often toyed with the idea of a certification scheme that validates an organisation’s recruitment and employment practices towards mature employees or ‘late career’ employees. Indeed, such a certification not only benefits mature workers – but all workers.
Seriously, if I go to one more presentation or conference that merely presents the ‘big problem’ of Australia’s ageing workforce with no serious solutions, I will scream! (Note to conference organisers – we’re always happy to present some!)
Just when you thought it was safe to snuggle down in the duna and listen to the dulcet tones of the ABC’s Tony Delroy – be warned. I’m participating in a round table discussion on what the extension of the retirement age will mean for you. Call in and join the conversation! Wednesday 10 June 10 pm.