International Business & Economy Josephine Teo: Consensus to raise ages for retirement and re-employment beyond 62...

Josephine Teo: Consensus to raise ages for retirement and re-employment beyond 62 and 67 a “significant milestone”

The Manpower Minister also encouraged employers to make businesses better adapted to older workers and said that MOM will review the WorkPro and Special Employment Credit schemes in light of this

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Singapore—In her May Day Message, Josephine Teo, the country’s Manpower Minister, called the tripartite consensus to raise the retirement age and re-employment age beyond 62 and 67 a “significant milestone,” as it will serve senior citizens who want to keep on working.

This consensus was reached by the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers, as announced by Ms Teo in March.

Ms Teo said in her address,

“I am confident it will motivate both workers and employers to invest in skills upgrading and job redesign for older workers.”

The work group had been formed in May 2018 for the purpose of examining whether the present ages for retirement and re-employment needs adjustments and to look at the impact of CPF contribution rates when it comes to the retirement adequacy of older workers.

Last month the Manpower Minister announced during MOM’s Committee of Supply debate that a consensus had been reached by the Government, unions, and employers.

The Secretary-General of the NTUC, Ng Chee Meng, also said in his May Day message last week that the raised ages for retirement and re-employment are the Labour Movement’s “aspiration”, although it will take time to implement it fully.

“We are conscious that businesses will be concerned about the impact on cost and this is where we will help our older workers upskill and reskill so that they can contribute productively if they so wish to continue working.”

Ms Teo said that recommendations will be released by the tripartite group later on in the year. It will also include the details on how quickly and how far retirement and reemployment ages should be raised, and also recommendations for CPF contribution rates for employees who are 55 years old and above.

She encouraged employers to make businesses better adapted to older workers. MOM will be reviewing the WorkPro and Special Employment Credit schemes in light of this, she added.

However, she also said that the Government also plans to address current issues—especially helping upskill workers with technology to ensure that they get good employment.

“We will walk the tech journey with our workers so that they can access good jobs our economy continues to create. Measures to tighten foreign workforce controls will keep up the pace of restructuring, and nudge employers to improve job quality to meet staffing needs. Technology will also change the jobs landscape, presenting both challenges and opportunities.”

Ms Teo pointed out that initiatives such as Adapt and Grow have assisted over 30,000 individuals in finding new employment, an increase of around 20 percent over 2017, the Manpower Minister pointed out.

Around 5,000 others have been reskilled and transferred to new jobs as well, via Professional Conversion Programmes. Many of those who have benefited from these programmes are now in better-paying jobs. Additionally, in 2018, SkillsFuture gave further advantages to almost half a million people through various lifelong learning programmes.

As for low-wage workers, Ms Teo said that the Government will be providing invaluable assistance through the 3W framework of Workfare, Workright, and Workcare.

The Workfare Income Supplement will increase the incomes of around 440,000 workers by as much as 30 percent. Workright, meanwhile, serves to educate workers concerning their key employment rights and makes sure that employers fulfill their obligations.

Workcare, which is the newest addition to the endeavour, seeks to care for the well being of low-wage workers by proving them with rest areas, among other benefits.

Furthermore, Ms Teo says that the Progressive Wage Model, which has been updated, had proved to be advantageous to over 70,000 workers in the security, landscape and cleaning sectors. Over the next three years, this model will be extended to lift technicians./TISG

Read related: Josephine Teo: CPF payout age to remain the same but better communication needed on the policy


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