Health and Reemployment of Older Workers in Germany

Thursday, 19 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Walter BARTL, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
Demographic ageing has promoted different approaches of ‘age management’ in many countries of the world as the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging (MIPAA) shows. The extension of working lives is one of these approaches leading to an increasing activation of older workers. In Germany, the employment rates of age groups 50plus have increased considerably during the last decades due to decreasing possibilities of early retirement and to decreasing risks of unemployment of older workers. Complementary to these developments unemployed persons 50plus have become a special target group of labor market policies. Unemployment is known to deteriorate psychological wellbeing and physiological health. This is one of the reasons why labor market policies in Germany have started to offer health courses for older workers. Against this backdrop the proposed contribution will analyze determinants of reemployment of older unemployed persons and pay special attention to effects of health status and participation in health courses.

The theoretical framework of this study is based on an institutional life course perspective. From this point of view legislation on the official retirement age and on criteria of employment disability pension schemes are crucial for processes of reemployment because they influence decisions of employers and (potential) employees as opportunity structures. Furthermore, organizational characteristics of potential employers (e.g. age stereotypes), personal features of the unemployed (e-g- qualification, health, search behavior) as well as the regional context (e.g. level of unemployment) play a major role in the reemployment process.

The empirical analysis is based on nine waves of the panel study 'Labour Market and Social Security' (PASS) by the German Institute for Employment Research (IAB). First results show that both, subjective health status and participation in health courses increases the chances of reemployment significantly. However, this effect is smaller for older unemployed.