Up with late retirement

Social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner must be very pleased that government efforts to persuade people to stay in work longer appear to be bearing fruit.

And at first sight they appear to do just that. Nearly half of the under-20s say they will work until the age of 65.
But look at those who are not so enthusiastic – people in their 30s, perhaps suddenly realising that golden career is not ahead of them, and people in their 50s who are likely to be counting the days until they can quit. After all, they have probably paid towards other people’s early retirement all their working lives, so why should they be deprived of the opportunity?
But we should not forget that not all employers are quite so keen to keep on their older staff. Older workers are more expensive and have more (paid) holidays than starters on the jobs market. Unemployment statistics show that older people – and we are talking the over 45s here – find it harder to get a new job and are out of work for longer.
Perhaps we could try a bit of positive thinking. Just as continuously calling Holland-born ethnic minorities ‘foreign’ reinforces a feeling of not belonging, perhaps describing the over-50s as old makes them long for a pension. ’Older workers’ as a phrase should only be used to talk about those past retirement age.

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