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Workforce Development in the United States: Lessons Learned for Older Workers

May 22, 2015 Comments off

Workforce Development in the United States: Lessons Learned for Older Workers
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute

This report by workforce experts Stephen A. Wandner, David E. Balducchi, and Christopher J. O’Leary undertakes a selective review of public workforce development programs in the United States over the last eighty years with a special emphasis on their importance to older Americans.

Particular attention is paid to services benefitting dislocated workers—that is, experienced adults permanently separated from their prior employers. The Employment Service and the Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Worker programs serve the greatest number of older workers.

The Senior Community Service Employment Program and the very small Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance program (now called Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance) are the only programs targeted specifically to older workers.

The policy options presented in the paper go beyond changes to the public workforce system embodied in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.

2015 Retirement Confidence Survey — 2015 Results

May 22, 2015 Comments off

2015 Retirement Confidence Survey — 2015 Results
Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute
From press release (PDF):

American workers and retirees are expressing higher confidence about their ability to afford retirement this year, even though there is little sign they are taking the necessary steps to achieve that goal, according to the 25th annual Retirement Confidence Survey—the longest-running survey of its kind.

A key factor in American’s outlook on retirement is whether or not they have a retirement savings plan. The 2015 RCS by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald & Associates finds that as the nation’s retirement confidence continues to rebound from the record lows experienced between 2009 and 2013, the increasing optimism is a result of those who indicate they and/or their spouse have a retirement plan, such as a defined contribution (401(k)-type) plan, defined benefit (pension) plan, or individual retirement account (IRA).

Retirement Throughout the Ages: Expectations and Preparations of American Workers

May 21, 2015 Comments off

Retirement Throughout the Ages: Expectations and Preparations of American Workers
Source: Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies

The 16th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey finds American workers are continuing to recover from the Great Recession and its aftereffects. While the economy is recovering, the U.S. retirement landscape is also continuing to evolve, with increases in life expectancies, the need for Social Security reform, and an even greater need for individuals and families to plan and save for their future financial security. Most workers are rising to the challenge by savings, but are they saving enough? Are they properly planning?

Workers of all ages face opportunities and challenges for improving their retirement outlook. As we progress through our working lives, our circumstances change over time with age. While workers in their twenties are embarking on their careers with decades to plan and save, retirement for workers in their fifties and sixties is much closer on the horizon, with many needing to shore up the size of their nest eggs.

This study examines workers in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, and sixties and older to compare and contrast their retirement preparations and shed light on how they can navigate the future and improve their retirement outlook.

From Refugee to Migrant? Labor Mobility’s Protection Potential

May 21, 2015 Comments off

From Refugee to Migrant? Labor Mobility’s Protection Potential
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Refugee protection—both asylum in the country of first refuge and resettlement to a third country—is a humanitarian endeavor, distinct from economic or labor migration. As victims of persecution, under international law refugees are entitled to specific protections, above all from forcible return, and the humanitarian nature of refugee protection is fundamental. However, what is less clear is the degree to which the right to move freely both within and beyond a country of first asylum can or should be encompassed within the international community’s understanding of what refugee protection involves.

Over the years, there has been growing international recognition that continued movement and migration often play an important role in shaping refugees’ lives after their initial flight, even without the formal legal channels to do so. The economic restrictions placed on refugees in many countries—including prohibitions on the right to work and limitations on movement away from camps—lead many individuals to pursue irregular secondary migration after being granted refugee status, in search of economic opportunity and sometimes even basic physical security. In light of this reality, pursuing labor mobility policies for refugees may make sense for both political and humanitarian reasons, offering the chance to enhance refugee protection while reducing the many costs associated with long-term refugee crises.

This report considers the extent to which labor migration is being used—or could be used in the future—to strengthen the international refugee protection regime and facilitate durable solutions for more refugees. The report also outlines two possible ways that policymakers could facilitate refugees’ freedom of movement: initiatives that take advantage of existing migration pathways and regional freedom-of-movement protocols, and development of temporary and permanent refugee-focused labor migration programs.

Job Lock and Employer-Provided Health Insurance: Evidence from the Literature

May 20, 2015 Comments off

Job Lock and Employer-Provided Health Insurance: Evidence from the Literature
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute

This report, written by Dean Baker at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, reviews the research literature on health insurance-related “job lock”—a labor market pattern that occurs when workers are reluctant to leave a job that offers health insurance because they cannot otherwise obtain affordable insurance. Based on the research, the author concludes that the Affordable Care Act’s insurance market reforms should have substantial, positive labor market effects.

The report reviews the research on three types of job lock:

  • Workers remaining in jobs in which they are not satisfied because of the fear of not being able to get health insurance at a new job (or not being able to buy or afford it in the individual market);
  • Workers being reluctant to start a business because they do not want to lose employer-provided health insurance; and
  • Workers staying employed (or employed full time) in order to obtain employer-sponsored insurance, when they would otherwise prefer to retire or work part time.

All three types of job lock are likely to be reduced by the Affordable Care Act, resulting in important gains for workers, families, and the economy.

CRS — Federal Employees’ Retirement System: The Role of the Thrift Savings Plan (3/10/15)

May 20, 2015 Comments off

Federal Employees’ Retirement System: The Role of the Thrift Savings Plan (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Cornell University ILR School)

Federal employees participate in one of two retirement systems. The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) was established in 1920 and covers only employees hired before 1984. Participants in the CSRS do not pay Social Security payroll taxes and they do not earn Social Security benefits. For a worker retiring after 30 years of federal service, a CSRS annuity will be equal to 56.25% of the average of his or her highest three consecutive years of basic pay.

Because the Social Security trust funds needed additional cash contributions to remain solvent, the Social Security Amendments of 1983 (P.L. 98-21) required federal employees hired after 1983 to participate in Social Security. To coordinate federal pension benefits with Social Security, Congress directed the development of a new retirement system for federal employees hired after 1983. The result was the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) Act of 1986 (P.L. 99- 335).

EU — New forms of employment

May 20, 2015 Comments off

New forms of employment
Source: Eurofound

Across Europe, new forms of employment are emerging that are different from traditional standard or non-standard employment in a number of ways. Some transform the relationship between employer and employee, some change work organisation and work patterns, and some do both. This report identifies nine forms of employment that are new or have become increasingly important in Europe since the year 2000. While there is wide diversity in terms of their characteristics and employment relationship, all the forms aim to increase flexibility for employers and/or employees. Although some have the potential to benefit employers and employees equally, in a few cases concerns have been raised about their impact on working conditions and the labour market. The report concludes with recommendations about the need to raise awareness of the potential problems and establish safety nets for workers. An executive summary and case studies are also available.

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