Tricom recommends promoting the extension of re-employment age to 67 by providing incentive support
29 September 2014
- The Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers (Tricom), which has been discussing the timeline for raising the re-employment age1, has recommended that the Government:
(a) adopt a promotional approach towards raising the re-employment age from the current 65 to 67 years old;
(b) provide incentives to encourage companies to re-employ their older workers beyond 65 years old in the interim, before legislation kicks in.
- The Tricom, which comprises representatives from the unions, employers and the Government, has also issued a Tripartite Advisory on Re-employment of Employees from Age 65 to 67 to guide employers who voluntarily re-employ their older workers beyond 65. (See Annex A for background information about the Tricom and its composition, and Annex B for the Tripartite Advisory.)
- As part of its work to support the continued employment of older workers, the Tricom has been discussing the timeline for raising the re-employment age since end 2013. The Tricom also consulted and considered carefully the views of various stakeholders such as the unions and employer groups.
- Tricom member and President of the National Trades Union Congress, Ms Diana Chia, said, “The Labour Movement believes that the best way to help older workers provide better for retirement is to help those who can and want to continue working to do so. Our unions will work closely with unionised companies toward raising the re-employment age ceiling from 65 to 67 in a win-win manner ahead of legislation. We urge the tripartite partners to do their utmost to realise this joint vision. In a tight labour market where the availability of foreign manpower will continue to be stringently managed, companies that retain and make full use of their existing manpower will enjoy an advantage over their competitors.”
- Immediate Past President, Singapore National Employers Federation Mr Stephen Lee, also a Tricom member, said, “Employers have expressed concerns about legislating the re-employment of workers beyond the age of 65 too soon. In 2012, the law was introduced after five years of promotional effort and employers had been well prepared to manage this three-year obligation of re-employing workers from the age of 62 up to the age of 65. We therefore welcome the time given to help employers to manage their older workers over the next few years before legislation sets in. In particular, employers need to make the effort where necessary to restructure their wage system or to redesign jobs so that they can fulfil their extended re-employment obligations from age 62 to 67. I urge employers to consider extending the re-employment of their employees beyond the age of 65 in the meantime to meet their manpower requirements.”
- Tricom Chairperson and Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Health Dr Amy Khor said, “The tripartite partners have discussed this matter at length. Employers are supportive and recognise the value of our experienced mature workers but need time to adapt; and unions want our workers to continue working for as long as they are willing and able to. We considered carefully the views of all stakeholders, and decided to adopt a promotional approach in the first instance before legislating raising the re-employment age from 65 to 67. The overall aim is to maintain the employability of our older workers and keep as many of them turning 65 in employment as possible. The tripartite partners are committed to continue our promotional efforts to encourage more employers to re-employ beyond 65, and will also work with the government on possible incentives to support employers doing so.”
- Dr Khor added that the Tricom would continue its other efforts to promote positive perceptions toward older workers and support companies in putting in place progressive workplace practices for our aging workforce.
Government accepts Tricom’s recommendations
- Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin accepted the Tricom’s recommendations on behalf of the Government. He said, “We thank the Tricom for working hard to reach a difficult consensus. Starting with promotion is not new. We are taking the same approach as when we first introduced the requirement for companies to re-employ workers till 65 in 2012. We are allowing companies adequate time to adjust before legislating, and will provide incentives for employers who voluntarily re-employ older workers beyond 65 ahead of it being legislated. The employment rate for older workers has steadily increased over the years, from 57% in 2009 to 65% in 2013. Last year, 99% of private sector local employees who turned 62 were offered re-employment. With the labour market expected to remain tight, we encourage employers to retain older workers who can still contribute to the organisation.”
Government to consider incentives
- The Government is considering positively the Tricom’s recommendation to provide incentives to support companies that voluntarily re-employ their older workers beyond 65. MOM is working with the tripartite partners and the Ministry of Finance on an incentive package to be announced early next year and made effective from 1 January 2015.
Tripartite Committee On The Employability of Older Workers – Background and Composition
The Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers was first set up in 2005 to recommend measures to enhance the employability of older workers. It aims to shape the perceptions and mindsets of employers and the public positively towards the employment of older workers.
The Committee is chaired by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Health, and comprises representatives from employer organisations, unions and the government. The Committee provides strategic direction to advance tripartite efforts in supporting the employment, employability and productivity of older workers. The five strategic thrusts for the Committee are (a) improving workplace practices and support, (b) raising productivity and skills of older workers, (c) shaping positive perceptions of older workers, (d) enhancing employment facilitation and (e) improving retirement planning.
- Mr Stephen Lee, Immediate Past President, Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF)
- Mr Alexander Melchers, Vice President, SNEF
- Mr Teo Siong Seng, Chairman, Singapore Business Federation (SBF)
- Mr Melvin Tan, SME Committee Member, SBF
- Mr Kurt Wee, President, Association of Small & Medium Enterprises
- Mr George Huang, President, Singapore Manufacturing Federation
- Ms Diana Chia, President, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC)
- Mr Heng Chee How, Deputy Secretary-General, NTUC
- Ms Cham Hui Fong, Assistant Secretary-General, NTUC
- Mr Ma Wei Cheng, General Secretary, Amalgamated Union of Public Employees
- Mr Arasu Duraisamy, Second Deputy General Secretary, Singapore Port Workers’ Union
- Mr Danny Tan, Assistant Executive Secretary, National Transport Workers’ Union
- Mr Loh Khum Yean, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
- Mr Augustin Lee, Deputy Secretary, MOM
- Mr James Wong, Deputy Secretary (Policy), Public Service Division
- Mr Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive, Singapore Workforce Development Agency
- Mr Adrian Chua, Divisional Director, Manpower Planning & Policy Division, MOM
- Mr Alvin Lim, Divisional Director, Workplace Policy and Strategy Division, MOM
- Mr Then Yee Thoong, Divisional Director, Labour Relations & Workplaces Division, MOM
Tripartite Advisory On Re-Employment of Employees From Age 65 To 67
- This advisory seeks to encourage and guide employers on the implementation of re-employment of older employees from 65 to 67 years old.
- Today, many employers plan for re-employment of older employees from age 62 to 65 years old. Continued employment beyond aged 65 is often not as well planned. Going forward, employers are encouraged to proactively plan for, and re-employ as many of their older employees between 65 and 67 years old as possible in suitable jobs with reasonable terms and conditions.
- As a good practice, employers should continue to extend the same re-employment practices for such employees between 65 to 67 years old in accordance with the recommendations in the main section of the Tripartite Guidelines on the Re-employment of Older Employees (for aged 62 to 65) where possible.
- Employers have the flexibility to adapt the principles in the Guidelines to suit their particular circumstances to provide more employment opportunities for workers aged 65 to 67. This includes flexibility in the job arrangements, such as re-employing employees in the same job, modifications to existing jobs, re-deploying the employees to different jobs or other work arrangements (such as part-time work). Employers should explain and discuss the work options offered with their employees.
- Employers who have made reasonable efforts but are unable to find suitable jobs within or outside the company for eligible employees aged 65 to 67 are to provide, as a last resort, outplacement assistance in the form of a payment.
Under the current Retirement and Re-employment Act, employers are required to offer re-employment to eligible employees who turn 62, up to the re-employment age of 65.