Putting elders to work means having their best interests at heart!
What if we no longer had to pity everyone who continues working post-retirement to bring in extra income or make ends meet? In the USA and Japan, the question doesn’t arise, because working post-retirement is the normal thing to do. In France, where 10% of over-65s live below the poverty line, compared to 12.5% of under 65s, the question is seen as scandalous. In 1970, there were 3.5 million over-65s living below the poverty line in France; by 2013, that number had reduced by two-thirds. On 27 August 2012, Le Monde pitied “retirees forced back into work”.
Working retired seniors enjoy better health than their non-working counterparts.
According to the French government agency for social affairs (Inspection Générale des Affaires Sociales – IGAS), 500,000 people are now working post-retirement, compared with just 120,000 in 2005. Since 2009, French law has allowed earned income in all its forms, whether from employment or self-employment, to be bundled up with pension income. It has therefore encouraged this growth, and it is clear that not all working retirees are living in poverty. “The identikit picture of the working retiree in six cases out of ten is that of a man – more than half are aged under 65 – with a relatively high level of income (average pension of €1,600 per month). Around half of them work part-time, and often for the same employer as before”.
There is certainly good cause to feel sorry for manual workers who already had a hard physical life, but have no choice but to return to work even though their life expectancy may be less than that of other employment categories. We can also feel rightfully sorry for single women whose social contributions fall short of the required level, but who must continue working to make up for non-continuous careers. For everyone else, it is an opportunity, because working retired seniors enjoy better health than their non-working counterparts.