Govt may extend re-employment age in two to three years' time: Dr Amy Khor

Govt may extend re-employment age in two to three years' time: Dr Amy Khor
Elderly person going up the escalator.

The Government will look at raising the re-employment age from 65 to 67 in two to three years' time, but in the interim, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Manpower, there are incentives in place to encourage employers to rehire olders workers on a voluntary basis.

During her Committee of Supply speech, Dr Khor said that Budget 2015 already included the announcement of additional Special Employment Credit (SEC) offset of up to 3 per cent of monthly wages this year if employers hire Singaporean workers aged 65 and above who earn up to $4,000 a month.

This is on top of the current 8.5 per cent SEC for hiring Singaporean workers above 50. This is a total SEC of up to 11.5 per cent of monthly wages for employers.

Dr Khor also noted that the employment rate of older citizens aged 65 to 69 has gone up from 38 per cent in 2013 to 40 per cent in 2014, a rate that is close to advanced economies like Japan.

But efforts to encourage employers to rehire older workers will remain. She said: "Even though the employment rate for this group of Singaporeans is high, we should continue to invest in our efforts to ensure older Singaporeans can continue working."

In Parliament on Monday, Dr Khor noted that data and feedback had shown that more employers rehired their older workers without cutting their basic wages.

Nearly all (99%) private sector local employees who turned 62 in the year ending June 2014 were offered re-employment – same as the year before.

91 per cent of the local employees who accepted re-employment on a new contract in the same job in 2014 did not have their basic wages cut. This is an increase from 83 per cent in 2013.

She cited three broad thrusts that the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers (Tricom) has been working on to enhance the employability of mature workers aged above 40.

One area is where the government will look at is workplace practices. Among various other schemes, Dr Khor said employers can tap on the Age Management Grant (AMG) and the Job Redesign Grant (JDG) to "put in place progressive age management practices and to embark on job redesign projects respectively."

Another area the Government will look into is to raise the skills of older workers, so that they can tap on better employment opportunities. Older workers can tap on grants and subsidies to enhance their capabilities.

For older workers who encounter ageism in the workplace, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) helps employers develop capabilities for employing and re-employing older workers.

Dr Khow added: "For individuals who encounter age discrimination at the workplace, I encourage them to approach TAFEP for advice and assistance."

cynloh@sph.com.sg

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