Aging Population, Late Retirees Changing Workforce Demographics
Whether it’s because of economic necessity or the desire to continue to work and be engaged, an increasing number of baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are choosing to postpone retirement. The result is a shift in the broader workforce, according to a study conducted by the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) and Cornell University.
According to the study, in 1990, 11.9% of the labor force was 55 years and older and by 2010 this jumped to 19.5%. Moreover, it’s projected that by 2020 those 55 and over could account for one out of every four workers.
What does this mean for employers? Companies can expect a greater number of workers with disabilities due to the fact that disability prevalence increases with age. For example, the study cites that hose who are under 40 years old in the workforce have a 5% likelihood of becoming disabled. Among those 60 years old, however, the rate is closer to 10%. When taking into account the entire U.S. population, the study shows that trends are similar with even higher disability prevalence rates. This could mean loss productivity and profitability for companies, additional training to replace disabled personnel and an increased risk in employment practices liability claims.
In fact, data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) indicates that employers are finding it a challenge to retain and accommodate older workers. As a result, those being discharge when filing an EPLI claim both Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) employment discrimination charges. The EEOC states that the failure to provide a reasonable accommodation is the second most common issue for charges filed jointly under the ADEA and the ADA. “Among ADA charges and those filed jointly under the ADEA, many of the most common specific impairments cited increase in prevalence with age, such as orthopedic impairments, diabetes, heart and cardiovascular conditions, cancer and hearing and vision impairment.
What can employers do? Employers should take measures that consider the needs of aging workers by creating an environment that is both inclusive and productive, and implementing integrated disability and absence management workplace policies and practices to help contain costs and plan for the potential of “brain drain” when this experienced population cannot be retained. These policies can include: flexible work scheduling, maintaining/enhancing benefits, wellness programs, on-the-job safety checks, accommodation, stay-at-work and return-to-work programs, and communication and recognition.
Caitlin-Morgan can provide your clients with a broad range of property/casualty insurance, including Employment Practices Liability. Please give us a call at 877.226.1027.
Source: Disability Management Employer Coalition, EEOC