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Seminar on Employment Issues 9 May 2014

On May 9th, 2014 Ministry of Welfare of Latvia hosted a seminar on employment issues. This seminar was the second one within the project "Latvia: Developing a Comprehensive Active Ageing Strategy for Longer and Better Working Lives". Participants of the seminar were introduced with an employment situation in Latvia, Austria and Poland. The seminar was continued with the presentations given by the Latvian State Employment Agency, State Labour Inspectorate and Ministry of Education and Science of Latvia. The seminar was concluded by the World Bank presentation and discussion. Experts from the World Bank, partners from the Austrian Federal Ministry for Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection and Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of the Republic of Poland as well as participants from the Ministry of Welfare of the Republic of Latvia and other Latvian institutions took part in the seminar.

Labour Market Situation and Measures in Latvia, presented by Ilze Zvidrina, Ministry of Welfare of the Republic of Latvia

  • In 2013 employment rate for peopleaged 50-64years in Latvia was 62% which is above EU average of 59,5% in this age group (Eurostat).
  • In 2013 unemployment rate for peopleaged 50-64years was 12% which is greater than EU average of 7,7% (Eurostat).
  • In March, 2014 35% of all registered unemployed were elderly people aged 50 years and older. 46,1% of all registered unemployed in this age group were long-term unemployed.
  • Average unemployment period for registered unemployed aged 50 years and older is 312 days (10,2 months).
  • The largest part of registered unemployed aged 50 years and older has professional education, however a large part has insufficient education level for the labour market - secondary, basic or less than basic.
  • The most popular previous occupations among registered unemployed aged 50 years and older are assistant, cleaner, yard keeper, retail sales assistant, automobile driver.
  • In order to enhance employment of unemployed persons, job seekers and persons who are exposed to unemployment risk in Latvia, general active labour market policy measures as well as measures targeting specific groups are provided by the State Employment Agency (hereafter - SEA).
  • In 2014 (January - March) 18000 registered unemployed aged 50 years and older participated in SEA measures. In this period 3 611 elderly unemployed became employed, from which 39,8% participated in SEA measures.
  • During the seminar on active ageing, employment of older workers and care of family members within the study visit to the Austrian Federal Ministry for Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection in April, 2014 following topics were discussed:
    • Senior citizens and active ageing policies in Austria;
    • Active ageing strategies based on the Green Paper of the Central European Ageing Platform and the Austrian Territorial Employment Pacts;
    • Caring relatives and federal support measures;
    • Support programme Fit2work for information, counselling and secondary prevention of occupational diseases.

Labour Market Policies in Austria, presented by Dr. Stefan Potmesil, Austrian Federal Ministry for Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection

  • Employment rate for peopleaged 50-64years in Austria is gradually increasing, however it is still comparatively low, besides also unemployment rate for this age group is increasing.
  • 30% of unemployed older workers have problems with health and 50% have completed just basic education.
  • More than 25% of older workers are long-term unemployed (more than 1 year).
  • In Austria during the period of 2012 - 2016 several targets are being set in order to promote employment of older workers, focusing on older people with health problems and long-term unemployed.
  • In order to promote employment of older people, such offers as wage subsidies, counselling and coaching, case management for reintegration in the labour market or improvement of workability as well as employment in social economic enterprises are provided.
  • Passive labour market regulations for older people include old age part time benefit and transition benefit afterwards.

Measures on Polish Labour Market, presented by Mariusz Zielonka, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of the Republic of Poland

  • Polish population is expected to decrease by 2,1 million people by 2035.
  • In 2013, 30-34 age group was the largest age group in Polish population, however in 2040 due to population ageing it is expected that the largest population age group will be 55-59 years old.
  • Duration of working lives for both men and women are lower in Poland than EU average.
  • Older workers' employment rate (aged 55-64) is 40,6% which is lower than EU average (50,1%).
  • In 2013 the retirement age in Poland was 65,4 for men and 59,4 for women. In order to create a more sustainable pension system, the retirement age will be gradually increased up to 67 for both men and women by 2040.
  • Main reasons for retirement in Poland are eligibility for pension and health issues.
  • Long Term Senior Policy in Poland:
    • Solidarity across generations;
    • Programme for Social Participation of Senior Citizens.

Activation of the Registered Unemployed Aged 50+, presented by Margarita Krislauka, State Employment Agency

  • Since 2009 the share of the registered unemployed aged 50 and older in the total number of registered unemployed has increased, however the number of registered unemployed of this age group is decreasing.
  • The biggest share of registered unemployed aged 50 and older is in the Latgale region.
  • Statistical portrait of the registered unemployed aged 50 and older:
    • Total number of registered unemployed - 34 994. Share of the total number of registered unemployed - 36,3%;
    • Education level: insufficient education level - 44,2%; vocational education - 45%; higher education - 11%;
    • Long-term unemployed (over 1 year) - 46%.
  • Profiling system - aims to define job finding opportunities, main factors that influence unemployment risks for the client as well as clients' motivation to cooperate with the SEA in order to identify the appropriate support measures.

Workers Aged 50+ - Health Status and Working Conditions, presented by Linda Matisane, State Labour Inspectorate

  • 70% of people after the age of 55 have at least one chronic disease and at least 50% of elderly people have excess weight.
  • 52% of population aged 55 and older in Latvia has long-term (more than 6 months) health effects that influence their everyday life. The main reason for those is poor working conditions.
  • In 2013, 530 workplace accidents were identified among workers aged 50 and older, which is 33% of all identified workplace accidents.
  • It is expected that there will be more negative health effects in the future due to longer lives and high prevalence of grey economy which results in longer working hours, not enough rest , working during illness and higher exposure to passive smoking.
  • Top causes for fatal and severe accidents at work for 50+ population: worker did not fulfil safety instructions, improper training of worker done by employee and insufficient attention.

Approaches to Lifelong Learning, presented by Baiba Baskere, Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia

  • 70% of Latvians trust educational institutions the most, which indicates positive attitude towards education.
  • The aim of the lifelong learning is to promote development of competencies for work and professional growth, encourage civic participation and social responsibility as well as promote the development of competitive economy based on high level skills.
  • Currently there is no specific senior education policy, but due to the increasing portion of senior citizens, there is a need to develop such policy.
  • 3 main reported reasons for continuing learning: personal growth and self-identity, doing my job better, job security.

Ageing, Labour Participation and Productivity - Policies that Work, presented by Emily Sinnott, World Bank

  • Ageing population concern: decreases the share of the labour force in the population (fiscal concern) and alters the structure of the labour force (productivity concern).
  • Labour productivity has been rising in Eastern Europe region, which is mostly due to Total Factor Productivity growth.
  • Cross-country evidence suggests that Total Factor Productivity is low when the labour force is very young or very old, the most productive employees are in the age group 40 - 50 years.
  • Age is not the only factor affecting productivity, education level is of big importance. Older cohorts usually are less educated.
  • As we age, traditional, teacher-directed and theoretical learning often does not work - learning by doing and learning with job relevance works the best.
  • Possible employer interventions: age-specific equipment or work place adaptation, age-specific tasks for old workers, mixed-age working teams, working time reductions and flexibility, age-specific training and human resource management strategies.
  • Wage subsidies can be used as incentives for employers, however, results are often not evaluated and if evaluated, there is mixed evidence in the literature. Subsidies may be the most effective when combined with training or job search assistance.

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