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Older workers in Germany – ‘please stay at work’

by on February 14, 2014

Here’s a twist on the age / work story that we often see regarding other EU countries. As reported here in the Financial Times, German organizations are desperate to hold onto older workers rather than wrestling with high youth unemployment as in southern Europe. This is due to Germany’s low birth rate which meant that the working-age population began to decline 10 years ago. One of the consequences is a number of creative schemes to entice older workers to stay on such as swapping 13% of salary for an additional nine weeks holiday – all part of a policy to offer a better work-life balance to retain older employees.

Also against the EU trend of raising retirement ages, the article reports that Germany has taken a step in the opposite direction: it recently unveiled draft legislation to lower the retirement age to 63 for workers who have contributed to the system for 45 years. The rest of the workforce will be required to keep to the current retirement age, which is being raised from 65 to 67.

I was struggling to reconcile these two seemingly opposing policies but apparently the retirement age plan is a political manoeuvre which has been widely criticised by German business leaders.

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