Incentives for companies that voluntarily re-employ older workers beyond 65

September 30, 201410:43 am431 views
Incentives for companies that voluntarily re-employ older workers beyond 65
Incentives for companies that voluntarily re-employ older workers beyond 65

SINGAPORE: Incentives to support companies that voluntarily re-employ their older workers up to the age of 67 will come into effect next year.

This follows recommendations made by the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers (Tricom). It comprises representatives from the unions, employers and the Government. As part of its work to support the continued employment of older workers, Tricom has been discussing the timeline for raising the re-employment age from the current 65 to 67 years old since 2013.

Tricom has also recommended adopting a promotional approach that includes outreach efforts and incentives to encourage companies to re-employ their older workers beyond 65 years old, before legislation kicks in.

“The feedback is that it is necessary because you need to make adjustments, for instance, to HR practices too. You need to make adjustments in terms of perhaps the type of jobs that may be suitable, depending on the sectors,” said  Tricom Chairperson Dr Amy Khor who is also Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Health.

Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin has accepted Tricom’s recommendations on behalf of the Government. In a statement, he said the Government is taking the same approach as when the requirement for companies to re-employ workers till 65 in 2012 was introduced.

This included enhancing the AVANTAGE! scheme in 2010 to allow employers to tap funds to develop HR systems as well as job redesign initiatives targeted at enhancing the productivity of older workers.

“We are allowing companies adequate time to adjust before legislating, and will provide incentives for employers who voluntarily re-employ older workers beyond 65 ahead of it being legislated,” Mr Tan said.

“The employment rate for older workers has steadily increased over the years, from 57 per cent in 2009 to 65 per cent in 2013. Last year, 99 per cent of private sector local employees who turned 62 were offered re-employment. With the labour market expected to remain tight, we encourage employers to retain older workers who can still contribute to the organisation,” the minister added.

The Manpower Ministry is working with the tripartite partners and the Ministry of Finance on an incentive package and plans to release details during Budget 2015.

In response to Tricom’s recommendations, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said that as one of the largest employers in Singapore with 139,000 officers, the public service sector will take the lead to re-employ its officers up to age 67.

Mr Teo, who is the Minister-in-charge of the Civil Service, said the Public Service Division has consulted public sector agencies and unions and will announced details later.

The Labour Movement has also strongly urged the Government to offer significant incentives to companies to spur them on to undertake the re-employment of workers beyond age 65.

“The Labour Movement will keep up the tempo of working closely with unionised companies to re-employ workers beyond age 65 and tap their value,” said Mr Heng Chee How, Deputy Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). “We believe that doing so is win-win for both mature workers and their companies, as the labour market is expected to remain tight for the forseeable future.”

The Association of Small and Medium Enterprises suggests a targeted wage supplement measure as an incentive for companies to keep older workers.

“Possibly what we could look at is if we can have some kind of a more substantial and more direct wage supplement measure for employers for the members of the workforce above ‘X’ level of age. And if that can happen, it would help the employers in also taking on the cost of employing members of the senior workforce,” said president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Kurt Wee.

Tricom says it does not have a set time frame for when the legislation to raise the re-employment age to 67 should kick in. Rather, the promotional approach will be monitored first before the Government decides on an appropriate time.


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