NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng last week said raising of retirement and re-employment age of Singaporean workers beyond the norms got positive response from over 50 firms.
The labour chief in an interview with CNA also said workers have been very happy and appreciative of the move.
However, there has been some resistance from businesses and employers who are basically anxious about the costs incurred when the plan is finally implemented, Mr Ng admitted.
Beside wages, additional costs such as healthcare needs of older workers, insurance and medical leaves, will give employers’ many sleepless nights.
According to the labor chief, with the way businesses have to wrestle with the uncertainties from the external environment, not to mention domestic cost pressures, what the employers have expressed are valid considerations. “I think they are not unfair in stating those concerns,” he said.
“We will have to sit down, put our concerns and challenges on the table, and really think through these issues as tripartite partners.”
Productivity and the relevance of skill sets among older workers will be key concerns for employers.
Citing his conversations with some companies, Mr Ng said: “Most of my employers are fair people – I pay you X amount, you deliver that X amount of productivity and I won’t look at your age.” To this, he stressed that workers will have to play their part as well.
“We got to stay up to date with relevant skills (and) with added skills, hopefully, so that we can be productive. Age will not really be that much of a factor if you are skillful and you keep healthy.”
ON CPF contributions
When inquired if the NTUC will push for the restoration of CPF contribution rates for workers above 55 years old, Mr Ng replied: “We have been doing that for quite a while. We think this is a good re-think of our CPF … on how to plan for adequacy of retirement and so forth, I think it is a necessary thing to do.”
A recent report by the Institute of Policy Studies has called for the CPF contribution rates for older workers to be restored to the same levels as that of younger workers.
If done so, it could help them save between S$31,000 and S$145,000 more by the time they retire, researchers said. Currently, the overall CPF contribution rate is 37 per cent for workers up to 55 years old.