State subsidizes employment for over-60s

Meirav Cohen  credit: Jonathan Bloom

So far, 913 people have found jobs through the Ministry of Social Equality's "Veterans at Work" program.

Two months have passed since the official launch of the "Veterans at Work" program of the Ministry of Social Equality, designed to connect jobseekers aged 60 and over with suitable employers. So far, 913 people have found work through the program, out of over 5,000 who signed up to it.

200 employers have joined the initiative, working with placement companies commissioned by the ministry, and they will receive a subsidy for each senior person they recruit, on condition that the pay is at least 5% above the minimum wage, and that the person stays in the job for at least six months.

The Ministry of Social Equality estimates that there are about 200,000 people of pension age in Israel with potential for the labor market, in terms of fitness, and economic or psychological need. The ministry aims at 3,000 placements through the Veterans at Work program, and has a NIS 10 million budget for the purpose.

Is this not just a drop in the ocean? "3,000 placements is not a low number," Ministry of Social Equality director general Meir Bing told "Globes". "There are many older people who don't need us. But on the other hand, the aged population is rising and will continue to grow with the rise in life expectancy. There's a need to work even at an advanced age, particularly for people who have worked as freelancers, those who were self-employed, and immigrants who have hardly any pension," he explained.

"We're addressing a healthy population group willing and able to work. At one time, a person would not have long to live after age 65; today, people live another twenty years. So, besides the individual financial need, it's important for the economy to gain the benefit of high-quality people with experience, and for the old people themselves it's healthy to remain active, even if some of them dream of retirement. Without getting up in the morning for a specific purpose, old people stay at home and experience loneliness, and we have seen this particularly during the coronavirus pandemic."

Most of the companies interested in bringing in veteran workers are in customer service, commerce, healthcare, education, and even technology. The Ministry of Social Equality says that managerial jobs have been offered in tourism, QA, digital sales, and more. Jobseekers undergo screening and matching interviews, and many are referred to workshops such as in resume writing. A large proportion of the senior jobseekers are looking for part-time work.

Apart from the state subsidy that companies receive for employing old people, some prefer them to young people for certain jobs in the first place. For example, a company applied to the program to find mature women to sell cookware, with the idea that they would be more suitable for that role than young salespeople.

Among the jobseekers who have registered for the program, the numbers of men and women are almost equal: 46% women and 54% men. In age, most, 52%, are between 63 and 69. 19% are aged 60-62, 28% are aged 71-70, and just 1% are 80 and over.

85% of the applicants passed immediately to the placement stage and contacts with employers, while 15% were referred to various forms of training, whether "soft" training, such as in writing a resume and preparation for a job interview, or professional courses.

Minister of Social Equality Meirav Cohen said, "We have launched a comprehensive program the aim of which is to help senior people who are discriminated against in the labor market, and who despite their willingness and vitality are barred from places of work. We are also amending the legislation that currently harms older working people, and working with employers and jobseekers to arrange as many placements as possible.

"Keeping our aged population in the labor market is a huge challenge that also holds out a strategic opportunity from which all can gain: the economy, which will benefit from a new growth engine; employers, who will obtain professional, experienced employees; and of course the people themselves, for whom going out to work is much more than earning a living. Employment is a solution to many problems. People who work are healthier, happier, less poor, less lonely, and more independent."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 20, 2022.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 20, 2022.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.

Meirav Cohen  credit: Jonathan Bloom
Meirav Cohen credit: Jonathan Bloom
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