Singapore's 'progressive' strategy for ageing workforce

The policies aim to keep workers competitive and adaptable

Singapore's 'progressive' strategy for ageing workforce

Singapore will be embarking on a refreshed strategy to create inclusive and progressive workplaces for its ageing population.

A tripartite workgroup on older workers formed last year has proposed 22 changes to ensure employees remain competitive and adaptable through disruptive times.

The government accepted the recommendations and will work closely with stakeholders to implement the changes and work towards achieving “productive longevity” for Singapore’s workforce.

The new strategy aims to:

  • Refresh Singapore’s retirement and re-employment framework
  • Strengthen older workers’ retirement adequacy
  • Promote inclusive and progressive workplaces that value silver workers

The workgroup’s key recommendations include the gradual increase of mandatory retirement and re-employment ages, as well as higher CPF contribution rates for employees older than 55.

READ MORE: MOM reveals revised retirement policy

The new policy brings closure to long-held debates around retirement, with its main change being the raising of Singapore’s retirement age from 62 to 65, as well as the re-employment age from 67 to 70, by 2030.

The retirement age was last raised 20 years ago in 1999, while legislation for re-employment had taken effect in 2012.

Additionally, despite growing calls to scrap the mandatory retirement age, the workgroup’s “extensive” consultations and research found that the fixed ages “remain relevant” in Singapore.

“The retirement age protects workers from being retired earlier than 62, without taking away their choice of when they wish to stop working,” wrote the workgroup. “Workers are free to decline the offer if they do not wish to continue working.”

However, companies that wish to voluntarily remove the “fixed age” for its workers can do so – with Singapore’s labour chief, Ng Chee Meng, even encouraging the practice.

An age-inclusive and progressive work environment
Beyond raising mandatory ages and CPF contributions to support retirement, the new strategy aims to “eliminate barriers to a truly age-friendly” work environment.

READ MORE: Ageism shockingly persists in Singapore firms

Companies are thus encouraged to raise efforts to be inclusive by:

  • Engaging workers in structured career planning sessions
  • Redesign jobs from being task-specific to an organisation-wide shift
  • Offer part-time options through HR policies and work contracts
  • Restructure employer-provided medical benefits
  • Implement appropriate workplace health programs

“Achieving productive longevity takes joint effort,” wrote the workgroup. “Employers must redesign jobs and careers around the abilities and strengths of older workers, and provide them with appropriate training.

“Workers must have the right mindset and be willing to adapt, master new skills and take on different responsibilities. Government must support both employers and workers in these endeavours.

“Our collective efforts will turn our ageing population into an inclusive and dynamic workforce; transform our businesses into progressive and productive enterprises; and build a Singapore where older workers can thrive in the future economy.”

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