Pensioners and veterans fill the labor shortage


At the Jobs and Skills Summit on September 1-2 in Australia, immediate reforms must be made to address the labor shortages that are crippling Australian businesses.

Australia is in danger of a labor shortage, with around 500,000 vacancies nationwide. This is holding the company back as it tries to recover from the last two-and-a-half years of lockdowns and his COVID-related disruptions. While it can be frustrating for a cafe or pub owner to deal with staffing shortages, especially when he’s been hit hard by COVID-19, it’s even more of a problem in hospitals and nursing homes.

Perhaps the most obvious solution to the crisis is to let pensioners and veterans work if they choose.

Australian pensioners can now earn up to $490 (US$340) per fortnight without impacting their pension payments, provided they pass other income and wealth tests. Effectively, this means that pensioners with no other savings or sources of income can work about one day a week.

For every dollar earned over the threshold, the pensioner loses 50 cents (US$34) of their pension. On top of that income tax, pensioners and veterans could soon fall below her effective marginal tax rate of 69%.

Epoch Times photo
Veterans march down Elizabeth Street during the ANZAC Day parade on April 25, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Why work with such inhibitors?

why? In Australia, only 3% of 2.55 million pensioners choose to work. In New Zealand, pensioners pay income tax on all their earnings like everyone else, rather than having their pensions immediately withdrawn, and about 25% of pensioners choose to work. I’m here.

The difference is stark. If Australia were to match New Zealand’s pensioner labor force participation rate, she would have 450,000 more workers.

This ‘gray army’ of workers could be a solution to the current labor shortage, if the government allows it.

a Recent research A National Seniors Australia survey found that 19% of pensioners would consider returning to work if possible. This equates to approximately 510,000 people, suggesting that, with the right policy settings, employee participation rates similar to those in New Zealand can be achieved.

Given the ongoing staffing shortages, it is imperative to do so. But apart from that, it is also a smart long-term economic reform.

The Federal Treasury’s intergenerational report surrounds the viability of the federal budget, particularly welfare services and the social security network, if it does not allow Australians to stay in the workforce longer, given the aging population. It highlights that we are facing serious structural problems. .

Additionally, a Deloitte Access Economics report published in 2012 found that increased participation of older Australians in the workforce could significantly boost the Australian economy.

A Deloitte study found that if Australia increased adult-age participation by 3% over current levels, its gross domestic product (GDP) would increase by $33 billion (US$22.7 billion), or 1.6%. A 5% increase would add $48 billion to GDP, or 2.4%.

Adjusted for inflation, the latter is now worth about $60 billion (US$41 billion).

Barriers between pensioners and the workforce

On August 17th, the Ministry of Finance released an issue paper for the Jobs and Skills Summit. This, he notes, is one of a group of people who “face certain barriers in entering the labor force” as older Australians. The current arrangements for working pensioners are arguably the biggest of these barriers.

In addition to the high effective marginal tax rates experienced by pensioners and veterans, onerous Centrelink’s administrative requirements are a major disincentive.

Epoch Times photo
A man enters the offices of Medicare and Centerlink at Bondi Junction, Sydney, Australia, March 21, 2016. (Matt King/Getty Images)

as a working pensioner told the Herald Sun Recently: “I have to notify Centrelink of my payments every week and my annuity will be adjusted accordingly. No…many friends say it’s too difficult.

In June, opposition leader Peter Dutton announced a policy to double the work bonuses available to pensioners and veterans. In early August, Senator Dean Smith introduced a private lawmaker bill to implement that policy.

This is a step in the right direction, but not far enough. This maintains the “handbrake” that pensioners work by adding fewer weekly working days and maintains Centrelink’s reporting requirements.

The Albanian government appears to be eyeing reform in this area, with Treasury Secretary Jim Chalmers saying for quite some time that “this could be a policy worth considering,” Jobs & I’m confirming that it states that the Skill Summit “will take some time”.take a closer look [it]”

The only concern standing in the way seems to be the cost to the budget. Dutton estimates that the coalition’s policy will cost $145 million (US$100 million) annually.

However, this does not explain the enormous benefits it provides. You can enter the labor force on wages.

This was before more corporate taxes, payroll taxes and GST payments. In terms of improved mental and physical health and a sense of purpose, not to mention the immense benefits that work dignity offers.

Enabling pensioners and veterans to work is exactly the kind of change that businesses, industry groups and ordinary Australians have come to expect from the Jobs and Skills Summit. It will be an easy and early victory for the Albanian government.

Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.

Sian Hussey


Cian Hussey is an Adjunct Fellow of the Institute of Public Affairs.