Giving older Australians the choice and flexibility to work

The Albanese Labor Government is committed to giving older Australians more choice and flexibility to participate in the workforce through legislation passed in the Parliament.

The Government has successfully passed the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Workforce Incentive) Act 2022 in the Senate.

Its passage means from 1 December this year until 31 December 2023, pensioners over Age Pension age will benefit from an immediate $4000 increase in the maximum Work Bonus income bank balance – from $7800 to $11,800.

The original boost was due to be in place until July 2023, but following consultation with Members, Senators and the community – importantly, seniors – the Albanese Labor Government extended it for a further six months to 31 December 2023.

This will give older Australians the ability to work more without losing any of their income support payments, and work in a more flexible way.

“Around 51,000 pensioners already participating in Australia’s workforce will benefit from this increase immediately, with the hope that other pensioners will soon take up this opportunity, if they choose to,” Minister Rishworth said.

“Older workers are an untapped market, having years of knowledge and skills to offer employers.

“Giving older Australians the choice to engage in the workforce will not only benefit them by ensuring they keep more of their pension, it is also an important step towards addressing Australia’s labour shortages.”

As part of the legislation, pensioners will also not have to reapply for payments for up to two years if their employment income exceeds the income limit.

Currently their connection to social security is cancelled after 12 weeks of exceeding the income limit.

As a result, pensioners will also retain access to their Pensioner Concession Card and associated benefits for two years.

This legislation delivers on the Government’s commitment in the Jobs and Skills Summit.

Eligible pensioners do not need to do anything, the increase will be automatically credited into their income bank, so they will be able to earn an additional $4000 from employment income from 1 December 2022 until 31 December 2023.

This is an important measure to ensure older Australians have the option to remain in the workforce if they wish to without losing access to their pension and benefits.

It will mean if they wish to work for short periods of time they can also, broadening their choices.