1005 Oral Answer by Minister of Manpower Dr Tan See Leng on the Senior Workers Support Package and senior re-employment
NOTICE PAPER NO. 733 OF 2021 FOR THE SITTING ON 4 OCTOBER
QUESTION NO. 1836 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Ms Yeo Wan Ling
To ask the Minister for Manpower: (a) how many seniors aged 55 years and above have benefitted from the Senior Worker Support Package introduced in 2020; and (b) whether the Government will be looking into extending this support or other ways of promoting senior employability.
NOTICE PAPER NO. 734 OF 2021 FOR THE SITTING ON 4 OCTOBER
QUESTION NO. 1872 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Ms Jessica Tan Soon Neo
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether the trend of senior re-employment in 2020 and 2021 has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; (b) if so, what further support can be given to companies to enable them to continue to offer re-employment for their senior employees who are eligible for re-employment.
- In line with the 2019 recommendations by the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers, the retirement age and re-employment age will be increased to 63 and 68 respectively, from 1 July 2022. CPF contribution rates for senior workers aged above 55 to 70 will also be raised by up to 2% points with effect from 1 Jan 2022
- The Senior Worker Support Package was introduced in 2020 to support employers in implementing these and other key recommendations made by the Workgroup. It consists of four schemes. You can refer to it in the handout that was just distributed
- First, the Senior Employment Credit provides employers wage offsets of up to 8% for hiring senior workers aged 55 and above. The Senior Employment Credit started from 1 January 2021. Thus far, close to $150 million have been disbursed to 86,000 employers, benefitting 482,000 senior workers
- Secondly, the Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant encourages employers to implement a higher internal retirement age and re-employment age, above the statutory minimum. From 1 July 2020 to 31 August 2021, 21,000 senior workers working in 2,800 companies have benefitted from the grant.
- Thirdly, the Part-time Re-employment Grant supports employers who commit to a part-time re-employment policy whenever eligible senior workers request for it. From 1 July 2020 to 31 August 2021, more than 19,000 senior workers working in close to 2,000 companies have benefitted from the grant.
- With healthy take up rates, the Government topped up over $200 million for both the Senior Worker Adopter Grant and the Part-time Re-employment Grant in February this year. This was on top of $100 million committed to these grants in 2020.
- Finally, the CPF Transition Offset will provide employers with transitionary wage offset equivalent to 50% of the increase in employer CPF contribution rates that will take effect in 2022.
- Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the employment rate of those aged 55-64 held steady at over 67%, while the employment rate of those aged 65 and above has increased from 27.6% in 2019 to 28.5% in 2020. This is comparable to the average of the top 3 OECD countries. The re-employment offer rates among eligible private sector resident employees who wished to continue working have also remained high, at well over 90% in 2020.
- Senior worker employment rates have held up, and the Government has allocated $1.5 billion1 through the Senior Worker Support Package over 3 years. In addition, last year, the Government introduced the SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support package to help mature and senior workers stay employable and enter new jobs or new roles. We have also provided additional support for employers who are expanding local hiring amidst the current economic and labour market uncertainty. The Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) provides wage support to eligible firms that hire new local jobseekers, with higher support for new local hires aged 40 and above, including older workers. We had recently announced an extension by another six months till March 2022 with tapered support levels, to support employers to continue expanding local hiring. JGI-eligible firms that hire mature local hires from October 2021 to March 2022 will receive up to $36,000 per hire.
- With employers continuing to reskill their senior workers and making every effort to retain and hire them, with society supporting their choice to remain active in work, our seniors can continue to participate actively in all spheres of life.