The Slovenia Times

Understaffed companies should hire those over 55


Data by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), which hosted the conference, show that in Slovenia only 47% of the people in the age group 55-64 are working, while the share in the entire EU is 59%.

Most people retire when they are 58 to 60 years old, said Labour Minister Ksenija Klampfer.

According to Počivalšek, prolonging the years of service is also important because many companies are understaffed.

"The labour pool in Slovenia is almost empty and hiring those over 55 could help tackle this issue," the minister of economic development and technology said.

He welcomed efforts to improve the double status of pensioners. "I must stress that the generation 55 plus boasts excellent experience and know-how. It's a capital that should be used."

GZS president Boštjan Gorjup noted that the share of those over 55 who are still working had been rising in recent years, which means that employers should continue to invest in them.

"Companies should approach the people who have been working for them for 20, 25 years to keep them motivated for staying in employment for longer," Gorjup said.

Those over 55 who are not in employment are mostly pensioners. "When somebody is retired, they will most likely not get a job again," Bojan Ivanc of GZS's analytical department said.

This is why it is crucial to encourage those who are still working to stay employed after they turn 55, he added.

He proposed a carrot and stick policy, encouraging the double status of pensioners, introducing shorter working hours and improving the system of long-term care to avoid having people, mostly women, retire to be able to take care of their older relatives.

The Labour Ministry is also encouraging people to stay in employment for longer by promoting a healthy environment, life-long learning and openness to changes, Minister Klampfer said.

GZS director general Sonja Šmuc pointed to the issue of (non)sustainability of the current pension system, noting that only 29% of pensioners had 40 years of services, which meant that 71% of them did not pay contributions for 40 years.

A few years ago the pensioner to worker ratio was 1:3, and in the future it will drop to 1:1. "We must not have the generation that is working provide for the pensions all by itself," she said.

The head of the Pension and Disability Insurance Institute (ZPIZ), the public pension insurer, Marijan Papež, said that 115,000 pensioners or 30.7% had worked for 40 years. In the past, women could retire on only 35 years of service, he noted.

Sonja Špoljarič of GZS's human resources division, noted that companies were reluctant to hire older people because they cost them more than younger staff. They must receive a bonus on their years of service, have longer holiday and are better protected against firing.

People can also receive unemployment benefits for 25 months before retirement, which discourages people from working for longer, she added.


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