Workers can be re-employed till 67

Workers can be re-employed till 67
Office workers and pedestrians crossing the road at Raffles Place.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The re-employment age will be raised from 65 to 67 from July 1 - one of three changes passed by Parliament yesterday.

The other changes under the Retirement and Re-employment (Amendment) Bill are:

- Employers will no longer be able to reduce by up to 10 per cent the salary of an employee who turns 60.

- If an employer cannot re-employ an employee who retires at 62, the employer can transfer his re-employment obligation to another employer.

The re-employment age model came about when the tripartite partners hit a wall with raising the retirement age, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say told Parliament.

Employers were worried about the impact on their businesses.

Younger workers fretted over having to wait a few more years before taking over their superior's position. Older employees were concerned about wage cuts each time the retirement age was raised.

Said Mr Lim: "We were stuck. How do we find a solution?"

The solution that produced an "all-win outcome", he said, was inspired from Japan's re-employment model.

As every country talked about raising the retirement age, Japan looked at the re-employment age instead.

While re-employment will help mature workers continue in today's job positions, NTUC deputy secretary-general Heng Chee How said it will be a challenge to help them stay relevant in a restructuring and disrupted economy.

"Even as we strengthen our frameworks of today, we must mobilise Singapore and Singaporeans to tackle that volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous future with focus, joint effort and a sense of urgency," he told Parliament.

Meanwhile, the Government is tackling the problem of unemployment, which went up for those aged 50 and above from 2.1 per cent in September 2014 to 2.3 per cent last September.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

Over the same two-year period, the long-term unemployment rate - those who have not worked for at least six months - rose from 0.8 per cent to 1 per cent.

To encourage the employment of older workers, the Government will continue to provide extra support.

This includes the Special Employment Credit - a wage offset of up to 8 per cent of monthly wages for hiring Singaporean workers aged 55 and above who earn not more than $4,000 a month.

Older workers are also given extra career and employment support under the Adapt and Grow initiative, said Mr Lim.

"MOM (Ministry of Manpower) will continue to work closely with our tripartite partners to extend support to all local job seekers as we go through this period of economic transition," he added.

The Government has been putting in concerted efforts to help these two groups of people, and the outcome has been encouraging, said Mr Lim.

The proportion of successful job placements for mature workers aged 50 and above went up from 29 per cent in 2007 to 39 per cent in the first nine months of last year.

"What is most encouraging is that 35 per cent of those who successfully found jobs in the first nine months of 2016 were previously long-term unemployed for six months or more."

Mr Lim also said the MOM will try to speed up industry transformation and redevelop the workforce to create better jobs and skills.

He added: "We'll also keep strengthening our career-matching services to minimise mismatches and missed matches in the labour market as we go through this period of economic transition."

fjieying@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Jan 10, 2017.
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