Older workers are protected under our law
- The Straits Times (3 June 2020): "Stop employers who force workers into early retirement"
Older workers are protected under our law - The Straits Times, 20 June 2020
- We wish to address Mr Cheong Wing Kiat’s concerns regarding employers who force workers into early retirement.
- Under the Retirement and Re-employment Act, employers are prohibited from retiring their employees on grounds of age before the statutory retirement age, currently at 62 years. Such dismissals are considered unlawful. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will not hesitate to take enforcement action against employers who unlawfully dismiss their employees on grounds of age.
- In addition, the affected employee can, under the law, make an appeal to the Minister for Manpower to be reinstated to his former employment, within one month of the dismissal. If substantiated, the Minister may order that the employee be reinstated or compensated.
- Mr Cheong had contacted MOM in January 2019 and was advised about his right to appeal to the Minister within one month of his dismissal date. MOM had also recently contacted him on his claim of being forced to retire early and Mr Cheong clarified that he and his ex-employer had since come to a settlement on the matter.
- We thank Mr Cheong for his feedback and would like to reassure employees of their statutory rights against unlawful dismissal on grounds of age and the redress available through MOM.
Then Yee Thoong
Labour Relations and Workplaces Division
Ministry of Manpower
Stop employers who force workers into early retirement - The Straits Times, 3 June 2020
- Under Singapore's Retirement and Re-employment Act, the statutory retirement age is 62, and the re-employment age is up to 67.
- The statutory retirement age will go up to 63 in 2022 and eventually to 65 by 2030. The re-employment age will also go up to 68 in 2022, and eventually to 70 by 2030. These changes were announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during last year's National Day Rally.
- Some employers have taken actions to coerce employees in their late 50s to accept "early retirement" settlements.
- I was at the receiving end of this kind of treatment, when I was coerced into early retirement at the age of 60 last year. I am sure there are others out there who are in this kind of situation.
- If employees refuse to accept early retirement, these employers unilaterally make changes to employment terms and conditions, and change existing responsibilities and targets to ones that cannot be achieved.
- Sometimes, they restrict these older workers from having contact with other colleagues, reduce compensation amounts for any delay in accepting the early retirement settlement and challenge employees to take their cases to court, knowing that employees do not have the resources to fight them.
- I hope the authorities will remind employers not to coerce older employees into accepting early retirement settlements, especially during and after the Covid-19 pandemic (Covid-19: What workers should look out for during this period, May 30).
Cheong Wing Kiat