Cash for hiring Over 50s. Do you have a point of view?  And importantly what are the facts?

We’ve been unable to ascertain if the $10,000 incentive to hire Over 50s who have been out of work for six months means they must have been registered with Job Services Australia and collecting the dole for six months, or simply not an income earner?

We’ve also been unable to establish whether or not this is a well thought out incentive. What are your thoughts? We got a bit perplexed when we drilled down to look at a couple of scenarios:

  1. Your organisation is paid to hire a top performer (in that case the Government’s a fool – you would have hired them in any case)
  2. You’re paid to hire a second rate performer (now you’re the fool – $10,000 will not make up for a poor performer).

Here is what we do know.

Restart Program
From 1 July 2014, a payment of up to $10,000 will be available to employers who hire a mature age jobseeker (including those on the Disability Support Pension) aged 50 years or over. Payments will commence after the worker has been employed for at least six months and will be paid in the following instalments:

  • $3,000 after six months of employment;
  • $3,000 after 12 months of employment;
  • $2,000 after 18 months of employment; and
  • $2,000 after 24 months of employment.

The Restart Program will build on the Government’s election commitment to introduce a seniors employment incentive payment. The $220.7 million over four years previously announced at the MidYear Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2013-14 will be redirected to the Restart Program.

Restart — boosting the wage subsidy for mature age job seekers

Expense ($m) 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Department of Employment Related capital ($m) 16.7 79.3 98.1 108.8

Our back-of-the envelope calculations would indicate that the Government expects to have around 5,000 starters in their Restart Program in the first year.

We don’t have all the data for Over 50s, but ABS Statistics tell us that 1.9 million ‘over 55s’ were participating in the labour force in 2010. Also, people aged 55 years and over made up 16% of the total labour force, up from around 10% three decades earlier. If we assume the unemployment rate of 6% can be applied to this number, then there are 114,000 over 55’s unemployed. The unemployment rate for older Australians is also quite low, but this is deceptive as many who can’t find a job drop out of the workforce altogether and so aren’t recorded in unemployment data.

Still, about a third of those aged 55-64 who are unemployed have been unemployed for a year or more.  And 5,000 might be picked up in the first year of the Restart Program, growing to 13,500 in the final year. It’s a start.

What’s your point of view?