Labour chief urges firms to raise retirement age

More than 50 companies in Singapore have voluntarily raised the age, says Ng Chee Meng

Labour chief urges firms to raise retirement age

As Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) works towards revealing new retirement guidelines, labour chief Ng Chee Meng shared that over 50 companies have voluntarily raised their retirement or re-employment ages.

By July this year, 20 unionised companies had raised their retirement age beyond the mandatory 62 years old or removed the ‘fixed age’ for its workers, said NTUC.

Ng, NTUC’s secretary-general, has been urging more employers to adopt the practice and believes it allows silver workers to continue working if they want to and share their valued experience.

Last year, the labour chief questioned why should there be an “expiry age for people’s desire or willingness to work?”

But he acknowledged that there has been some resistance from employers due to concerns over costs, during the interview last week with local radio station CNA938.

He believes cost pressures such as additional insurance and medical leave to meet healthcare needs of older workers are “valid considerations”.

Another issue to address is maintaining the productivity and relevance of their skillsets – as has been raised in his discussions with companies.

READ MORE: Singapore’s silver tsunami: Is HR prepared?

However, he remains optimistic, saying that all parties need to play their part to make the employer-employee relationship work.

“We (employees) got to stay up to date with relevant skills [and] with added skills, hopefully, so that we can be productive,” he said. “Age will not really be that much of a factor if you are skilful and you keep healthy.”

A review of Singapore’s retirement and re-employment ages will be announced in September, according to Manpower Minister Josephine Teo.

A tripartite workgroup has been established to study what makes older workers feel valued, as well as whether enough is done to help them meet their retirement needs.

The workgroup is focusing on areas like:

  • a review of the mandatory retirement and re-employment ages
  • Central Provident Fund (CPF) contribution rates for older workers

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