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Efforts to address needs of re-employed workers

  • The Straits Times (07 October 2015): Efforts to address needs of re-employed workers
  • The Straits Times (28 September 2015): Look into needs of seniors in re-employment

Efforts to address needs of re-employed workers

- The Straits Times, 07 October 2015

  1. We thank Mr Raymond De Silva for his feedback ("Look into needs of seniors in re-employment"; Sept 28).
  2. Employers are currently required to offer re-employment to eligible workers at age 62, up to age 65. By 2017, the re-employment age will be raised from 65 to 67.
  3. In the meantime, employers are encouraged to retain eligible employees beyond 65 and extend the same re-employment practices to these employees.
  4. The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices also actively promotes merit-based employment practices.
  5. The civil service values the experience and skills of mature officers. Following the Tripartite Guidelines on Re-employment of Older Employees, the majority of mature officers are currently re-employed at the same salary, and benefit from the prevailing leave and medical schemes applicable to all civil servants.
    This year, the civil service has further taken the lead to offer re-employment to all eligible officers till age 67, ahead of the law.
  6. Over the past few years, the Government has gradually restored the Central Provident Fund contribution rates for workers aged 50 to 55 to the same level as younger workers. We have deliberately taken a graduated approach so as not to adversely affect the employability of these older workers.
  7. The Government will continue to work with our tripartite partners to address the growing needs and employability of our older workers.

Look into needs of seniors in re-employment

- The Straits Times, 28 September 2015

Singapore has increased the re-employment age from 62 to 65, and this is set to rise to 67 by 2017.

The re-employment of retirees serves to partially meet Singapore's general manpower needs, and provides seniors a continued source of income. This also allows them to build their retirement nest egg; it is a win-win situation born out of necessity.

As older workers approach their retirement age and if their financial situation does not permit them to retire, continuing to work is the only choice. They are put through the same grind and expectations of them do not change.

Yet from the time they hit 50, their Central Provident Fund contributions are cut and, thus, their actual remuneration too. The cut increases right to the time that they reach retirement age.

In the civil service, those at 62, if re-employed, are under a new contract. Their annual leave and medical leave entitlements are cut. I can understand the premise that seniors are expected to fall sick more often and, thus, their medical leave entitlement is moderated. But why cut their annual leave when they are at an age when they should be having more time to perhaps smell the proverbial roses?

Holidays to faraway places are for those who can afford it. But for most seniors, how they spend their leave can be as simple as taking short community-organised excursions, or spending time with their grandchildren. Why begrudge them the leave entitlement that they have accumulated over the many years of service?
The majority of Singaporeans may not be able to afford to retire with their current savings. They will have to continue working past the retirement age. It will be a norm, if it is not already happening.

I hope that the Government will look into the needs of the seniors in re-employment. Reducing their pay, their leave and adding to the stigma of getting old, while advertising otherwise, are some areas that need to be addressed.

The consideration for seniors, as with all employees, should be whether they are up to the mark.