Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said yesterday (11 June) that she is “encouraged” by the higher life expectancy of Singaporeans before claiming that “”people living longer…is a key reason that they work longer.”

Citing a report that showed that the healthy life expectancy of Singaporeans has risen by 7.2 years to 74.2 years and that life expectancy has risen by 8.7 years to 84.8 years, in the last 27 years, Ms Teo said that this means that “most of the increase in life expectancy for Singaporeans is years of good health.”

Sharing that she is “encouraged” by the report, the People’s Action Party (PAP) politician said: “People living longer and generally healthier lives is a key reason that they work longer – this is a trend that we observed across many developed countries.”

Earlier in January, Ms Teo cited trends in other developed countries as she explained why the Government would not lower the minimum Central Provident Fund (CPF) withdrawal age, also known as the Payout Eligibility Age (PEA), at this time.

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Asserting that the PEA will remain at age 65, Ms Teo indicated in Parliament last week that this is because employees seem to prefer to work longer and save more than take out their CPF earlier.

She further hinted that the PEA may instead rise in the future since more than half of the OECD countries have set their pension withdrawal age at 65 or older.

Citing the examples of the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany that are raising their pension withdrawal ages gradually to reach 67 in the next decade, the ruling party politician cautioned: “So against such a backdrop, we must really ask if it is wise to lower our own PEA.”

The Minister drew flak for comparing Singaporeans and Singapore’s system to the people and systems in these “markedly different” nations.

In her latest Facebook post, Ms Teo wrote that the increasing life expectancy of Singaporeans is a reminder of why the Government set up the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers.

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The Workgroup, that was set up in March, has decided to raise the Retirement Age and Re-employment Age.

Revealing that there has been good progress on “how far and how fast we should raise both ages,” Ms Teo said that there are just some “loose ends” to tie up and that the Workgroup hopes to release an update before September this year.

MAKING LONGEVITY PRODUCTIVE FOR BOTH WORKERS AND EMPLOYERSRead the front page report in yesterday's Lianhe Zaobao…

Posted by Josephine Teo on Monday, 10 June 2019