Salary for staff to be re-hired to be reviewed

SINGAPORE - The public officers re-hired before the latest change in rules will not be short-changed.

The Government will review the salaries of some 1,150 officers who were re-employed when they turned 62 between July 2011 and December last year.

This is to ensure that they are not worse off when the new pay terms kick in on Thursday.

"Their salaries will be aligned to the new guidelines," a Public Service Division (PSD) spokesman told The Straits Times last Tuesday night.

The PSD had announced on Monday that junior officers, such as clerks in the public sector, will not suffer a pay cut when they are re-employed at 62 years old.

Some senior officers like teachers and management support officers will still have their salaries reduced, but the cut will be capped at 15 per cent, down from 30 per cent now.

It is the right move to equalise the pay between existing officers and those re-hired under the new rules, said human resource analyst David Leong.

"It is good human resource practice to do so, otherwise some (workers) in the same cohort can feel disgruntled," said the managing director of recruitment firm PeopleWorldwide Consulting. "Disgruntled employees can affect productivity."

But while the change is apace in the public sector, some private firms told The Straits Times on Tuesday that they will not take their cue from the Government's latest move. This is because some did not cut the pay of their re-hired workers in the first place.

A check with more than 20 large companies found that some re-employ their workers on the same terms after they turn 62 if they continue to do the same jobs.

These firms included ComfortDelGro Corp, DBS Bank, OCBC Bank, StarHub, CapitaLand and Marina Bay Sands.

The companies cite various reasons for not slashing the pay of older workers. Re-hiring workers at the same terms provides "added certainty and peace of mind" to them, said a DBS spokesman.

Singapore National Employers Federation executive director Koh Juan Kiat added: "Companies do not cut (the) salaries of workers who are in short supply."

But others, like Resorts World Sentosa and Sheraton Towers Singapore Hotel, preferred to wait and see, saying they may make changes.

Among those that did not reply to The Straits Times were SingTel, Singapore Airlines and United Overseas Bank. PSA Corp and SMRT Corp declined to comment, with the latter citing a Singapore Exchange gag order as its reason. The transport firm released its quarterly financial results on Tuesday.

For Dr Moh Chong Tau, president and chief executive officer of precision engineering firm Makino Asia, the question of cutting older workers' pay should not have arisen at all. About 20 of the firm's 500 employees were re-hired at 62 without pay cuts.

"An employer who cuts the pay of older workers should remember that he will also grow old one day," said the 62-year-old.

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