Chapter 8: Active Ageing in Employment – Prospects and Policy Approaches in Germany
Frerich Frerichs and Gerhard Naegele INTRODUCTION The pronounced ageing and shrinking of the German population has led to concerns about rising social security costs and future labour shortages, resulting in recent public policy changes aﬀecting older workers. Labour market initiatives have aimed at increasing labour force participation among this group, while enterprise level active age management strategies have aimed at improving conditions for older workers’ employment. Prolonging working life is increasingly viewed as a key component of ‘active ageing’. This stands in stark contrast to the widespread practice of early retirement in the 1980s and 1990s, supported by a strong consensus between enterprises, trade unions, the state and workers themselves. The result has been prevailing low economic activity rates for workers from age 55. Furthermore, the risk of older workers becoming unemployed is far above average. Against the background of a pronounced trend towards early exit, the question arises as to whether, so far, enough has been done to achieve active ageing in Germany, or if this concept really only provides a convenient rhetoric for policy makers intent on reducing the cost of social welfare. Therefore, in this chapter current labour market initiatives for older workers will be reviewed and assessed. The focus here is on public policies, but the views of the social partners will also be considered, as will what has been developed at company level. To put all this in context, the current status of older workers in the labour market and projections regarding the age...
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