The Right of Older Persons to Work and to Access the Labour Market

(2019) Submission to the eleventh session of the United Nations General Assembly Open-ended Working Group of Ageing (6 to 9 April 2020)

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 19-101

26 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2019 Last revised: 30 Apr 2020

See all articles by Andrew C. Byrnes

Andrew C. Byrnes

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Israel Issi Doron

University of Haifa - Department of Gerontology

Nena Georgantzi

National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG)

Bill Mitchell

Community Legal Centres Australia

Bridget Sleap

HelpAge International

Date Written: December 16, 2019

Abstract

This paper was prepared as a submission to the United Nations General Assembly Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing, which is considering the desirability of the development of a new international treaty on the human rights of older persons. The paper explores issues relating to the participation of older persons in the labour market, in particular the barriers to their entry to and continued participation in paid work. It notes that the ‘work’ performed by older persons includes not only paid work in the formal or informal economies, but work that is unremunerated and often goes unrecognised including in national accounts (such as caring and volunteer work). The paper notes the role that ageism plays in shaping and restricting the participation of older persons in work, and describes the particular challenges and discrimination that older women face in the context of work and obtaining access to the labour market. It also addresses the issue of mandatory retirement ages and whether these are in principle or in practice consistent with the right to equality and non-discrimination and the right to work of older persons. The paper concludes with recommendations as to the normative elements that should be included in any new treaty on the human rights of older persons.

Keywords: Ageism, older persons, human rights of older persons, ageing, right to work, mandatory retirement, sex discrimination, age discrimination, United Nations, proposed treaty on rights of older persons

Suggested Citation

Byrnes, Andrew C. and Doron, Israel and Georgantzi, Nena and Mitchell, Bill and Sleap, Bridget, The Right of Older Persons to Work and to Access the Labour Market (December 16, 2019). (2019) Submission to the eleventh session of the United Nations General Assembly Open-ended Working Group of Ageing (6 to 9 April 2020), UNSW Law Research Paper No. 19-101, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3504975

Andrew C. Byrnes (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

Israel Doron

University of Haifa - Department of Gerontology ( email )

Haifa 31905
Israel
972-4-8249954 (Phone)
972-4-8249946 (Fax)

Nena Georgantzi

National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) ( email )

University Road
Galway, Co. Kildare
Ireland

Bill Mitchell

Community Legal Centres Australia ( email )

307 Pitt St, Sydney NSW
Sydney, 2000
Australia

Bridget Sleap

HelpAge International ( email )

PO Box 32832
London, N1 9ZN
United Kingdom

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