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Will we have jobs next year?

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AMELIA TAN & TOH YONG CHUAN & JOANNA SEOW on 17 May 2014

The Straits Times

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Mr Lee, a junior executive at a security firm, says those in their 60s should keep working if they are healthy.

 

Mrs Tay enjoys teaching very much, but would like to work at a slower pace.

 

The money Ms Soh earns as a senior service crew member at Han’s Cafe supports her mum and herself.

 

Mr Wong believes employers should not write off older workers and that retiring at 62 is too early.

 

Mr Abdul Sarip has been covering the Shenton Way postal beats for 14 years.

 

Mrs Mohan’s daughter is still pursuing her unversity studies and may need support.

 

Madam Gan enjoys her work as guest services secretary. She aims to go on working as long as she is healthy.

 

Madam Png was touched by the understanding and concern shown by her colleagues after her husband passed away.

 

Madam Chia says she does not feel old and hopes to continue working for as long as she can.

 

 

The first batch of Singaporeans re-hired at age 62 in 2011 will turn 65 this year. Can they continue working beyond 65? Amelia Tan, Toh Yong Chuan and Joanna Seow report.

 

MR STANLEY Tan turned 65 this week, and that meant saying goodbye to his job as a technical executive of over 40 years.

 

The former statutory board employee says he will miss going to work each day.

 

He was in the cohort of workers who were the first to benefit from the Retirement and Re-employment Act passed in January 2011.

 

That law, which kicked in a year later, made it mandatory for bosses to offer healthy workers who have performed satisfactorily re-employment from ages 62 to 65, or a one-off payment.

 

But for many in this batch of 2011/2012 who, like Mr Tan, want to continue working, time is fast running out.

 

That is because those who were re-hired after turning 62 in 2011 and 2012 will reach their re-employment age ceiling of 65 either this year or next year.

 

Their employers are not legally bound to keep them on their payrolls.

 

They will not be unless the Government activates a clause in the law to raise the re-employment age to 67.

 

Although Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong indicated in his May Day Rally speech this year that the Government intends to do so, he gave no timeframe.

 

The question is: Will the change come too late for some of these older workers?

 

Target was 67 all along

 

FROM as far back as 1993, the Government had made it clear that its target retirement age was 67.

 

That was the year Parliament amended the law to raise the retirement age from 55 to 60. Then Labour Minister Lee Boon Yang told the House: “The Bill will also provide for the retirement age to be raised to 67 years in the future. It is the Government’s intention to do so within the next seven to 10 years.”

 

So in 2011, when the Government amended the law to introduce re-employment until the age of 65, it wrote into the law a further two-year extension until age 67.

 

Then Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong said that the extension will come “at a later stage”.

 

National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) deputy secretary-general Heng Chee How told Insight last week that the time is ripe to discuss this extension. “67 is a reasonable next step. It makes things less open-ended and less frightening for employers,” he says.

 

Economists agree that a two-year extension will go down better with firms which worry about burgeoning costs.

 

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

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