Sara Rix

Sara E. Rix, Ph.D., is a senior strategic policy adviser with the economics team of the AARP Public Policy Institute. She has written and spoken extensively about older workers, an aging society and aging issues for more than 30 years.
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He remembers the exact date - Nov. 30, 2008. That is when Hue Galloway of New Britain, Conn., was laid off with just a week's notice from his job repairing printers and computers throughout the state. His annual evaluations, he said, had been good - 30 years of experience and "never a bad review" - but that didn't keep him from being let go without any real explanation. He lived on unemployment insurance until that ran out, and he had some savings, but he eventually declared bankruptcy.
Feb 2014 Blog Graph
No doubt about it: Americans are pushing back retirement, either because they can't afford to quit working or they don't care to do so. For some, it is a bit of both.
Older workers woes
Is there a way to protect some workers - younger as well as older - from job loss during economic downturns? Some might be helped during the next recession if more employers have access to and use what is known as short-time compensation or work sharing. Work sharing is exactly what it sounds like - the sharing or spreading around of the available work when times are tough. Work sharing is not to be confused with job sharing, which is when two workers split the responsibilities of a single job in order to achieve a better balance between their work and nonwork lives.
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Many Americans are pushing back the date of retirement. Some say they feel they have no choice - they haven't saved enough and aren't eligible for much in the way of retirement benefits. For others, need takes a backseat to desire. Work gives meaning and purpose to people's lives; they love what they are doing and often have considerable flexibility in what they do and when. Work also gets them out of the house.
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