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Table 5 Solutions identified to improve the ageing workforce during COVID-19

From: COVID-19 and the ageing workforce: global perspectives on needs and solutions across 15 countries

Solutions Examples
Working from home • All Countries
Laws and regulations mainly tied to economic measures • Paid leave for vulnerable workers (Austria)
• Aid for informal workers, entrepeneurs, water and electricity fee reductions, farmer income support scheme (Thailand)
• Aid for affected businesses (Thailand, US, Australia)
• Program funding jobs for older workers (South Korea)
• Partial wage support for unemployed/furlough scheme (Israel, UK)
• Unemployment insurance extended, stimulus cheques (US)
• Safety net for welfare benefits and state pension entitlements (UK)
• Risk incentives for workers under strict conditions (Romania)
• Payments to care recipients and for older person’s home accessibility (Canada)
• Social farms for the disabled and psychological quarantine to counter isolation effects (South Korea)
• Low interest loans when not laying off staff (China)
• Consumer demand stimulation through cash vouchers for eat-in customers (China, Australia)
Cross industry collaboration to meet workforce shortages • Staff sharing mechanisms across retail and hospitality led to innovation as some restaurants would provide cooked meals to grocery stores (China)
• Job sectors with staff shortages that may be open to older workers who want to return and have the right skills or are willing to re-train such as health, social care, teachers and IT workers (UK)
• The South Korean government launched several online programs to promote workers’ transitions to digital and non-face-to-face industries.
Promotion of online business • Development of policies and programs to promote seniorpreneurship. COVID-19 has further emphasized the need for the government to create, support and grow locally owned businesses with a specific lens on seniorpreneurship. (Australia)
• Older workers have been creating an online business (Thailand)
Education and training • Governments can play a role in promoting seniorpreneurship by raising awareness, providing training and education opportunities, business mentoring, funding opportunities, access to markets and networking (Australia).
• Free IT training (Austria)
• Some workers in the employment system have benefited from an employer funded 7.5% tax free contribution towards continuing learning (Israel)
• Older workers have received training in electronic commerce during lockdown (Thailand)
• In South-Korea, the ‘Social Farm’ provides services such as care, education, and employment to the socially disadvantaged such as older workers in agriculture.
• A series of workshops including peer learning, and webinars on ‘Early Lessons & Promising Workforce Practices from COVID-19’ [59]. The learnings will be shared to combat the rising COVID-related long-term unemployment among older people. (US)
Intergenerational collaboration and product innovation • Multi-partner research projects: MAIA (Models and Methods for an Active Ageing Workforce: An International Academy) has developed some novel concepts and technologies for next generation age-inclusive manufacturing systems (Germany).
• Many Living Labs exists throughout Japan in which older citizens actively participate in a community-based platform for open innovation and co-creation in collaboration with multiple-stakeholders.
• Local social workers are able to help monitor vulnerable older people through using new products based on artificial Intelligence that continuously track older clients who live alone (South Korea).
• Younger workers teach older workers digital skills, whilst older workers train younger people in agribusiness (Thailand).
• AARP representing adults ages 50 and older, has partnered with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to encourage employers to embrace a multigenerational, inclusive workforce and launched a clearning collaborative: The Living, Learning, Earning, Longer (LLEL) initiative (US).