Ageing Labour Forces

Ageing Labour Forces

Promises and Prospects

Edited by Philip Taylor

This provocative book considers the changing status of older workers, the evolution of public policy on age and work and the behaviour of employers. It attempts to answer the critical question: in an ageing society, can older workers look forward to the prospect of longer working lives with choice and security and make successful transitions to retirement?

Chapter 6: Labour Market Policies Regarding Older Workers in the Netherlands

Kène Henkens and Joop Schippers

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, ageing, comparative social policy, economics of social policy


Kène Henkens and Joop Schippers INTRODUCTION In their capacity as macro-level actors, the Dutch Government and social partners are aware of the need to raise the labour force participation of older workers (see, among others, SER, 1999). That is why at the Lisbon summit in 2000 the Government enthusiastically endorsed the so-called Lisbon targets to promote the labour force participation of older workers. Even though participation of older workers has increased during the last few years it is still below the target level of 50 per cent. Von NordheimNielsen (2005) states that without the active support and commitment from employers, trade unions and older workers themselves, employment rates are unlikely to improve sufficiently. Recent research demonstrates that workers in Europe increasingly anticipate working longer than is currently the case (Velladics et al., 2006). However at the same time it also shows that the vast majority of older workers themselves still like and expect to retire years before the official retirement age (for instance, Van Dalen and Henkens, 2002, 2005; Heyma, 2001). Dutch government policy during the last decade has primarily been aimed at discouraging the use of different routes to exit the labour market by increasing the ‘exit-penalty’ in terms of replacement rates. Much less attention has been given to employer behaviour, the focus of this chapter. Most decisions on how to deal with the ageing of the workforce will have to be taken by individual organizations, or will, at least, be implemented within these organizations....

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