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NTUC to raise retirement age ahead of schedule

It will also raise re-employment age in 2021, with its 12 social enterprises to follow suit

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Sue-Ann Tan on 09 Nov 2019

The Straits Times

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The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) will raise the retirement age and re-employment age ceiling for its workers to 63 and 68 respectively from Jan 1, 2021, more than a year ahead of the national schedule.

 

Its 12 social enterprises, which include FairPrice, Foodfare, Income and First Campus, will also do so from July 1, 2021.

 

About 430 workers who will reach the age of 62 in 2021 will be able to postpone their retirement, while about 280 workers can benefit from the early raising of the re-employment age, said NTUC yesterday.

 

NTUC and its social enterprises employ about 20,000 workers in total, with about 2,400 older workers beyond the current statutory retirement age of 62.

 

These changes were announced at a dialogue held at the National Museum of Singapore on Thursday between union leaders and representatives of social enterprises, and 4G government leaders, including Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

 

The raising of the retirement age and re-employment age ceiling was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National Day Rally in August. The ages will go up to 65 and 70 respectively by 2030. They will first go up from 62 to 63, and from 67 to 68, respectively, from July 1, 2022.

 

Companies that have raised their retirement ages ahead of the national schedule include Gardens by the Bay and ComfortDelGro Group, while Prudential and Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay have scrapped the retirement age completely.

 

Mr Heng said in a Facebook post yesterday: "The labour movement is walking the talk by adopting age-friendly workplace practices, to get companies to follow suit."

 

Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, and Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Zaqy Mohamad were also present at the dialogue. It was hosted by NTUC's secretary-general Ng Chee Meng and president Mary Liew.

 

Ms Jessie Yeo, NTUC human resource director, said: "We don't anticipate any impact on our manpower cost by implementing the new retirement and re-employment ages earlier. Taking into account the cost of hiring and training a replacement, as well as natural attrition, we foresee that our manpower budget will balance itself out and we will not need to increase our budget for this purpose.

 

"More importantly, re-employing our staff allows us to continue to tap their expertise, and this early adoption signifies our commitment to recognise the value of older staff to the organisation and to support them working longer if they wish to do so."

 

Mr Jonas Kor, NTUC Enterprise head of corporate communications, said that all the social enterprises have pledged their commitment to this initiative.

 

"We don't foresee any significant impact on costs and the current workplace, as we do have staff who are beyond the current statutory retirement age of 62 in our workforce today. This has been an ongoing practice and we will continue to keep and train older workers in our workforce. We value the contributions of every employee, young or old," he added.

 

Workers said they welcomed the early raising of the retirement and re-employment ages.

 

Mr Vincent Low, 65, a senior specialist at NTUC who helps with membership recruitment, said: "I have been working in this job for over 20 years and I want to keep working to stay active. This is good news for me."

 

He said his experience in the job makes him familiar with the role, and he attends training courses to learn skills, such as how to use new technological programmes.

 

Ms Kalsom Jaafar, 64, a housekeeping executive at D'Resort at Downtown East by NTUC Club, said: "I want to continue working to keep healthy, and I like to interact with people around me... I want to gain more knowledge. Staying at home can be very boring."

 

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

 

 

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