A shortage of hospitality workers has driven Business NSW to call on the government to change the rules about how much pensioners can earn without it affecting their pension.
A Business NSW 2021 Skills Survey data highlighted the deepening staffing crisis across the state with particular concern for regional hospitality businesses.
Regional manager Jane Laverty said 89.1% of business owners in the Northern Rivers reported a staff shortage.
“We need to think differently if we are to retain and rebuild one of our most significant economic drivers and one of the hardest hit sectors impacted by covid restrictions and lockdowns,” Ms Laverty said.
“We’ve been calling out to young people to consider a summer job in local cafes and restaurants, we’ve done the call out to the ‘Mumforce’ who may be picking a career back up and now we are asking retirees to consider putting some of their time back in to work life to help us out of this crisis.”
Business NSW has written to Federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg calling on the government to let age pension recipients earn more.
“Currently under Work Bonus, a pensioner can earn up to $300 of employment income a fortnight – or $7800 a year without reducing their pension,” Ms Laverty said.
“The $300 is on top of the money they can earn each fortnight ($180 if single, or $320 if a couple) before affecting their Age Pension payments.
“Increasing the limit would allow pensioners the opportunity to earn more money in this current climate and would help businesses who are struggling to find staff.”
It was important to get the sector back on its feet, she said.
This article appeared on indyNR.com on 7 December 2021.