MOM reveals Singapore's re-employment rate

Ministry calls for better engagement on re-employment arrangements

MOM reveals Singapore's re-employment rate

Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is urging employers to engage with their senior employees regarding their re-employment arrangements to avoid potential disputes. The advice came as Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said MOM received about 80 re-employment disputes annually between 2016 and 2021. About 90% of these disputes were "amicably resolved" through the mediation process, according to the minister, including cases where the employee withdrew their appeal.

"The remaining 10% were either escalated to the Minister for Manpower for a decision on unreasonable denial of re-employment, or to the Employment Claims Tribunals (ECT) for disputes over re-employment terms or quantum of employment assistance payment," Tan said.

Read more: Singapore increases retirement, re-employment ages

He added that the ECT or the ministry also decides on about 10 cases of re-employment disputes a year, where 60% were dismissed due to lack of merit. These cases include instances when an employee failed to meet re-employment eligibility criteria due to unsatisfactory performance, or when an employer proves that there are no other vacancies for re-employment.

"The other 40% of the cases were found to be substantiated and resulted in compensation to the employee from the employer – there was only one such case involving a public sector employer in 2018," Tan said.

To prevent re-employment disputes from happening, Tan encouraged employers and employees alike to refer to the Retirement and Re-employment Act as well as the Tripartite Guidelines on the Re-employment of Older Employees.

"Employers should engage senior employees as early as possible to discuss possible re-employment arrangements. Senior employees should also be open to alternative jobs and reskilling opportunities to improve their long-term employability," he said.

Read more: Prudential Singapore first to scrap retirement age

Age discrimination

Tan revealed in a separate statement that Singapore's re-employment rate "remained high, with most employees continuing to work in the same job without any cuts to basic wage and benefits."

According to Tan, the employment rate of workers aged 55-64 is 69% in 2021, while workers aged 65 to 69 have an employment rate of 49%. Cases of ageism in the workplace have "also fallen," said the minister, where 18.9% of job applicants experienced age discrimination during their job search.

"The proportion of resident employees who experienced discrimination during employment due to age is also relatively low, at 4.6% in 2021," he said.

Read more: Singapore stands to lose the most with Asia’s ageing labour force

Despite this, Tan said the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Practices is currently educating employers to promote fair employment. He also stressed that the government is taking enforcement action against employers with discriminatory practices.

"Looking ahead, we will be enacting workplace fairness legislation. This will send a signal that there is no place for discrimination at the workplace. The legislation will broaden the range of measures and penalties available to address workplace discrimination, including age discrimination," Tan said.

Singapore's re-employment rate was recently increased to 68 this year. According to MOM, employees hired at the age of 55 and above will be qualified for re-employment if they were employed in the same company for at least two years.

"These measures will enable more senior workers to continue working if they wish to, and provide a larger pool of workers for businesses," MOM said in a previous statement.

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