Older workers and extended workforce participation

Moving beyond the barriers to work approach

Therese MacDermott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Many countries have responded to the prevailing fiscal and demographic challenges by introducing measures to extend the workforce participation of older workers. This paper assesses the type of measures commonly utilized to extend labour force participation, using examples of legislative reforms and social policy initiatives in Australia, the UK and other EU member states. It argues that these measures are principally aimed at mandating or incentivising extended labour force participation, and lack a focus on achieving substantive outcomes for older workers. This paper explores the type of measures necessary to move beyond a barriers to work approach, with a particular emphasis on promoting and sustaining the inclusion of older workers through strategies that encourage employer engagement in ascertaining and addressing structural impediments facing older workers, that facilitate flexible work practices and that implement a reasonable adjustments approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-98
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Discrimination and the Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Age
  • Discrimination
  • Workforce participation

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