Mobilizing Retired People in Ageing Societies on a Voluntary Basis
Subjects: Eurozone Crisis WTO and Globalization
The rapidly increasing population of older retired people in Europe, largely financially secure and often in good health, should be recognized as a major potential resource which can contribute to meeting the challenges ageing populations will present. While the first priority is to sustain gainful employment of older workers, at least until normal retirement ages, by ensuring that labor markets work right, voluntary contributions of time have an important role to play whose potential is often overlooked. Volunteering already augments the effective work force in Europe by around 2.5 per cent. If participation could be increased throughout the region to rates that are already typical in some countries and if its average duration could be increased by as little as half a day per week the effective work force could be increased by another 3.3 per cent by 2025. Much of what needs to be done to achieve this relates to attitudes. But policy measures can strengthen incentives to volunteer and can facilitate using volunteers. In particular, recognizing contributions of time to suitable non-profit organizations as similar to contributions of cash for tax purposes, liberalizing labor market rules as they apply to the retirement age population working at such organizations and integrating volunteer work into existing employment law frameworks would be very helpful.