Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Ng Chee Meng, has echoed another Minister’s recent announcement that Singaporeans will receive an update on the raising of the retirement and reemployment age in a few months.
The Government set up the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers in March, this year, and the Workgroup has reached a consensus to raise the retirement and reemployment age. The current retirement and reemployment age is 67 years old.
Earlier this week, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo reported that there has been good progress in the Workgroup on “how far and how fast we should raise both ages.” She added that there are just some “loose ends” to tie up and that the Workgroup hopes to release an update before September this year.
In a Facebook post published this afternoon (14 June), Mr Ng echoed that the Workgroup is “in the final phase of deliberations, especially on the implementation details as some of the changes will take a few years to be rolled out fully.”
Repeating Ms Teo’s announcement that an update will be released by September, Mr Ng – the secretary-general of the labour movement – said that the raising of the retirement and reemployment age will be explained to workers so they can better understand how they will be impacted by the changes.
Mr Ng, a former Chief of Defence Force, added that his conversations with union leaders and workers has shown him that “staying employable” remains a key concern “especially among our older workers who wish to be gainfully employed and financially independent in their golden years.”
Ms Teo also alluded to older workers wanting to work longer in her announcement on the Workgroup, earlier this week, when she said that she is “encouraged” by the higher life expectancy of Singaporeans before she claimed 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.
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.