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Forum Reply: Steps taken to support senior workers on re-employment

We refer to the letters by Mr Tristan Gwee (Tap older workers’ wealth of experience, Dec 11) and Mr Ong Kim Bock (Do more to get retirees back in workforce, Dec 14).

We agree senior workers are a valuable part of our workforce, and it is heartening that many wish to upgrade their skills and continue working past retirement age. This is why we are increasing the retirement and re-employment ages to 65 and 70 respectively by 2030, so those who are able and wish to continue working may do so.

The Retirement and Re-employment Act protects senior workers, as employers are not allowed to dismiss workers based on age before retirement age, and are required to offer re-employment to eligible senior workers. The upcoming Workplace Fairness Legislation will also strengthen protections against age discrimination at the workplace.

Since 2012, over 90 per cent of eligible resident employees who wish to continue working have been offered re-employment. In 2021, more than nine in 10 senior workers who were re-employed in the same job did not experience any cuts to basic wages and benefits. Many seniors also continue to be employed beyond re-employment age.

Mr Gwee emphasised the importance of creating opportunities and removing barriers to seniors’ lifelong employment and learning. To better tap the experience of senior workers, it is important for seniors to keep their skills relevant, and for employers to foster age-friendly workplaces where seniors can contribute productively.

The tripartite partners encourage employers to proactively plan ahead for their workforce needs; upskilling their workforce early and redesigning jobs where necessary.

The Singapore National Employers Federation conducts workshops on Structured Career Planning (SCP), to help employers understand their senior workers’ career plans and address skills gaps to better prepare them for re-employment. Employers can tap the Part-Time Re-employment Grant when implementing SCP and other age-inclusive workplace practices. More information can be found at and

Employers who wish to redesign jobs to access a wider range of workers can leverage the Support for Job Redesign under Productivity Solutions Grant. Workers can also participate in reskilling programmes such as the Career Conversion Programmes, to move into new occupations or sectors.

The Government will continue working closely with tripartite partners, employers and workers to create a more age-inclusive workplace for our seniors.

Tan Wei Long
Director (Employment Standards and International Relations)
Workplace Policy and Strategy Division
Ministry of Manpower

Tap older workers’ wealth of experience, 11 Dec 2023, The Straits Times, Opinion

I echo the view of the writer of the commentary “Is work after 65 a 9am-to-1pm gig?” (Dec 5) that more could be done to improve the employment situation of older workers in Singapore.

A lot of the inflexibility can be attributed to ingrained ageist human resources practices and mindsets of employers. It is disheartening to read that the majority of the seniors who are working are employed in low-income jobs.

Why are seniors not gainfully employed in jobs that require more skills, experience, compassion, patience, creativity and other qualities that come with years in the labour market?

How do we unlock the longevity dividend and gain the best from seniors’ experience and talents?

Surely there is a need for these workers in our tight labour market.

A super-aged society also presents opportunities in creating a silver economy, which would not be possible if most seniors are unwilling to spend because they do not have a regular income.

The Government should consider removing the mandatory retirement age. Workers should be able to decide to continue working and not be forced to accept the shorter end of the stick by way of re-employment.

The recent documentary Live To 100: Secrets Of The Blue Zones touched on how a purpose-driven life is an essential ingredient for longevity.

If we truly wished for seniors to age well, with meaning and purpose, we need to create the opportunities and remove the barriers that impede lifelong employment and learning.

Tristan Gwee

Do more to get retirees back in workforce, 14 Dec 2023, The Straits Times Opinion

I refer to the report “Tap older workers’ wealth of experience” (Dec 11). Much has been said about the availability of manpower from the retired workforce, but this seems to have been accorded low priority.

I am in a chat group consisting of 44 healthy retirees, who were qualified professionals in the fields of financial service, education and engineering.

Their lives now revolve around running errands and exchanging gossip. This indeed is a waste of valuable talent and wealth of experiences, which could otherwise be channelled back more productively to the economy.

There is an opportunity for us to explore the untapped talent among retirees, and institutionalise their return to the workforce.

Employers should change their mindset that the cost of hiring these retirees would be a prohibitive factor.

I believe the retirees would be reasonable on remunerations, and some might even regard it as answering the call to help ease the nation’s manpower crunch.

Ong Kim Bock