Polish labour force ‘needs to work longer and later’

9 Apr 15

Poland should encourage more people to work longer later in life to help meet the challenges of its rapidly ageing population, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has said.

The economic think-tank said the size of the older population (65 upwards) was projected to nearly triple when set against the size of the younger population. In 2012, the older population was 22% of the size of the younger population, however, this is expected to rise to 63% by 2050.
Its Working better with age in Poland report acknowledged that reforms over the past decade to limit access to early retirement, had a strong impact, but said the amount of older people in work still remained well below the average for OECD countries.
In 2013, the employment rate of 55-64 year olds in Poland was 41%, compared with the OECD average of 55%. Only 9% of Polish people aged 65-69, were in work compared with the OECD average of nearly 20%.
‘Further reforms to encourage active ageing and longer working lives are needed in Poland,’ said Stefano Scarpetta, OECD director of employment, labour and social affairs.
‘Employers need to do more to improve working conditions for older workers and reduce the large gender gap in employment.’
The OECD called on the government of Poland to help more women stay longer in the labour market.
‘One feature of the Polish labour market is the early age of exit, which begins at the age of 50. This is particularly the case for women. Significant disparities in employment with respect to gender, age and education will need to be reduced in order to encourage longer working lives,’ the report said.
It said women’s labour market conditions and future pensions should be reformed. The OECD says additional development of care facilities is required to help older women combine work with family responsibilities.  
The report added that Poland should concentrate on preventive measures in occupational health services. Local health services should have prevention and early identification of health risks as priorities, it said.
In addition, the government should align employment protection legislation (EPL) across all age groups by abolishing the special protection rules for older workers.
According to the OECD, this should be combined with reinforced active labour market measures to help older jobseekers rejoin the workforce quickly.
It also noted that the country increased the statutory retirement age from the age of 60 for women and 65 for men in 2013.
This will gradually rise to 67 by 2020 for men and to 67 by 2040 for women, the think-tank said.
  • Judith Ugwumadu
    Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith writes about public finance, public services and economics across Public Finance International and Public Finance. She previously undertook reporting stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express.

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