Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Mr Arasu Duraisamy has asked the Government to raise both the retirement age and the re-employment age because he feels the best support the Government can give an elderly worker is “ensuring they have a good job.”
50-year-old Mr Arasu is a veteran union leader who was selected by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to represent the interest of workers as a Labour NMP, in Sept 2018.
He is currently an NTUC Central Committee member and General Secretary of the Singapore Port Workers’ Union.
Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday (26 Feb), Mr Arasu recounted that many elderly Singaporean workers have told him that they are not ready to retire.
He said that some of these elderly workers need to work to support their families while others need to save for healthcare or retirement.
Others prefer to be gainfully employed since they are healthy and physically able.
Calling on the Government to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65 and increase the re-employment age from 67 to 70, Mr Arasu said:
“The extension of the retirement age and re-employment age provides certainty to workers who want to continue working, and allows a longer runway for employers to plan for training and upskilling, as well as adapt to digital transformation holistically.”
Mr Arasu’s statement that the best support the Government can give an elderly worker is “ensuring they have a good job,” echoes Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat’s statement that the Government is “helping older Singaporeans stay in the workforce, so that they can earn and save more for retirement,” during his budget speech.
Asserting that some older Singaporeans “wish to continue working,” Heng had said:
“With increasing lifespans, we are also helping older Singaporeans stay in the workforce, so that they can earn and save more for retirement…We are doing more to help older Singaporeans earn more, save more, and have greater peace of mind during their retirement years.”
Heng said that he is “happy that companies have responded by hiring older workers, tapping on their experiences, and supporting them in upgrading their skills.” He added:
“With a tighter labour market, and more Singaporeans choosing to work longer, more companies will be hiring older workers. The Government will study better forms of support to continue to help workers to remain productive, earn more, and save more for retirement.”
He further characterised welfare schemes to help Singaporeans as forces that “weaken people’s sense of agency and independence”:
“We are improving the lives of our people, by enabling them to be the best that they can be. We enhance our people’s sense of well-being and dignity, without the burden of welfare schemes elsewhere, which weaken people’s sense of agency and independence.
Heng’s comment that seniors choose to work longer mirrors Manpower Minister Josephine Teo’s remarks last month that the Payout Eligibility Age for CPF will not be lowered because employees seem to prefer to work longer and save more than take out their CPF earlier.
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