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12 August, 2020 Open access

Government must take action to help older workers back to work after COVID-19, says Learning and Work Institute

New report warns of a surge in long term unemployment without targeted support aimed specifically at the over-50s

The government must take action to help older workers back to work after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Learning and Work Institute (LWI) has said.

In a new report, A mid-life employment crisis, the LWI - in partnership with Centre for Ageing Better - warns of the risk of a surge in long term unemployment among the over-50s. Observing that the number of older workers seeking unemployment-related benefits has almost doubled during the lockdown, the LWI highlights that there is a risk of further job losses as the furlough scheme is unwound and that older workers who lose their jobs are far more likely to slip into long-term worklessness.

Calling for action, the report sets out three steps the government could take to support older workers in the wake of COVID-19 - 

Commenting on the report, chief executive of Centre for Ageing Better Anna Dixon said - 

'As this report shows, older workers have been hit hard by the crisis, and it’s crucial that they are not forgotten in the recovery efforts. Without action we could see many in their 50s and 60s falling out of the workforce years before their state pension age and struggling to get by until they are able to draw their pension. We know that a one-size-fits-all model doesn’t work when it comes to helping over-50s back to work. Instead we need to see targeted support, and a strong message from government that these workers are just as entitled to support as younger age groups.'

For more information, see Coronavirus risks triggering long term unemployment crisis for older workers from learningandwork.org.uk