Call for hybrid workers a hybrid scheme in itself

by Jaime K. Pimentel

Guess what: I just discovered that I’m a ‘hybrid.’ Australia’s Federal Treasurer Peter Costello said so. No, the Treasurer didn’t mean to call me a ‘mestizo.’ I knew that a long time ago, being reminded all too often by my kababayans (countrymen) when I was still in short pants.

Delivering his second “Intergenerational Report” recently, Mr Costello said his government was looking for what he described as an army of ‘hybrid workers’ to keep the Australian economy going for the next 40 years. He described ‘hybrid workers’ as those elders like me who lived partly on their superannuation and partly on part-time work. The Daily Telegraph newspaper’s headline read: “Work until you drop.”

The Treasurer was reported as saying that life expectancy in the year 2047 would be 86 years for men and 90 for women, and it would be best if workers stayed at their jobs longer.

“So I’ve got this idea of people doing hybrids in the future – partly relying on superannuation, partly working part-time. And adding to the overall economy. We do need to change attitudes,” he said.

I have no problem with that, Mr Costello. But your deal limits the incentive bonus you provide to those of us men who continue to work after age 65. For some strange reason, after five more years of work the bonus stops at age 70.

Worse still, if a man continues to work after 70, he cannot have access to that incentive bonus. The old fella may access that bonus only after he ceases to work completely. This may mean he may not be able to really enjoy the bonus any longer.

I don’t get it.

If I am given access to my superannuation after I turn 65 so that I may enjoy the benefits of my working life, why not allow me to enjoy the fruits of my working beyond my retirement age of 65?

The Treasurer’s mindset on the Australian economy and our aged workforce appears to be half-hearted. It seems to me that Mr Costello’s scheme for the elderly workers is, in itself, a hybrid.