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Mismatch of working hours, retirement plans and social security provisions. Deborah Mitchell & Brigid van Wanrooy.

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Presentation on theme: "Mismatch of working hours, retirement plans and social security provisions. Deborah Mitchell & Brigid van Wanrooy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mismatch of working hours, retirement plans and social security provisions. Deborah Mitchell & Brigid van Wanrooy

2 Interaction of labour market deregulation & social security reform LM deregulation has led to job insecurity, the creation of casual and part-time jobs, the need to hold multiple jobs to secure adequate income. At the same time, social security reform has introduced policies that: limit access to income support based on workfare-style approaches; increase retirement age thresholds; carrot and stick policies to change participatory behaviour. The combined effect has been to decrease security on both fronts. How do individuals respond to these changes? increased working hours to avoid job loss; taking any job/hours to avoid relegation to social assistance; changed life course decisions.

3 Analysis of individual responses Based on a ten year panel study Negotiating the Life Course that has followed 3,000 Australian families since 1997. Results reported here based on questions regarding working hours: How many hours do you actually work in an average week? How many hours are you paid to work? How many hours would you prefer to work? Also asked questions about retirement plans: When do you plan to retire? What do you think the retirement age for people in your occupation should be?

4 What we found … working hours(1) How closely do hours actually worked match with preferences? Reported outcome 1997 % 2000 % 2003 % 2007 % Match59545047 Mismatch fewer 31353941 Mismatch more 1011 12 Significant and growing mismatch between actual and preferred hours

5 What we found … working hours(2) Gap between actual and paid hours? In 2007: FT men worked an average of 8.3 unpaid hours per week FT women worked an average of 4.6 unpaid hours per week PT women worked an average of 1.1 unpaid hours per week Implications? Unpaid hours not reflected in social security contributions Increasing stress on families with children Unpaid hours lead to false estimates of productivity What hours do employees prefer? Strong social norms. FT men want a standard 40 hour week FT women want a 35 hour week PT women (with children) want 27-30 hours per week

6 What we found … retirement plans What people say and what people do can be very different. Official retirement age is 65 yrs (men) and in transition to 65 yrs for women. When asked when do you plan to retire ? Responses were: Men responded, on average, 64 years Women ranged between 58-62 years BC Men = 61 years; WC Men = 65 years BC Women =57 years; WC Women = 63 years But what do people actually do? So far, only 16% of the original 1997 panel have retired. * Men actually retired in ages clustered around 59 yrs and 62 yrs Women retired much earlier than planned, at 55 years Like working hour preferences, retirement plans are strongly influenced by social norms. Very few of the panel retired on, or after, their plan. * Note findings above are subject to a selection bias, need additional data to confirm.

7 Conclusions Pushing policy levers that seem sensible or economically desirable may be confounded by actual individual responses. Social norms may over-ride attempts to induce behavioural change at the individual level. Our research suggests greater emphasis on : Policies that change employer behaviour, eg: family friendly policies; proper recognition of unpaid overtime in the form of increased contributions to employee retirement funds Greater diversity of retirement financial products Medium term, more nuanced policies to reflect the preferences of blue collar versus white collar workers. Fuller accounting of resources that people draw on across the life course. This may temper policies that may lead to an over-correction of social security parameters. Baby-boomers have significant wealth holdings to draw on that may enable them to retire early and wait for official income streams to kick in. Policies that encourage wealth retention earlier, then to draw down when health and social care costs become prohibitive for the public purse. Get the work-family balance right - or dependency ratios will continue to decline!

8 Data Source and Research Papers

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