The People’s Action Party Seniors Group (PAP.SG), which focuses on ageing issues, is urging the Government to introduce a legislation that will enforce raising the rehiring age to 67.

In a position paper submitted to the Ministry of Manpower today (Nov 18), PAP.SG said the Government has accepted the recommendation by the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers to increase the rehiring age from 65 to 67 years and companies that adopt it will be given incentives. However, no date has been fixed as to when the legislation will be introduced to “compulsorily effect this change”.

“While promotional means may work for the unionised sector where, through collective bargaining, the unions could push employers to implement the higher rehiring age, it may not be so effective in the non-unionised sector where the majority of the workers are employed,” the group said in its paper, which was signed by Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, chairman of the group.

“Hence, we urge the MOM to quickly introduce legislation to raise the rehiring age to 67 years, as otherwise many older workers may be faced with premature retirement,” she said.

The other issues raised in the position paper include boosting the employers’ use of the age management grant, better evaluation of training efforts for older workers, incentivising early movers to rehire older
workers through tiered incentives and the gathering of more finely-categorised statistics for more focused policy improvements.

Mdm Halimah said employers should make better use of existing grants, such as the Age Management Grant and the Job Redesign Grant.

“As at September 2014, 1,300 employers have made use of these grants, although there is no information on how many older workers have actually benefited or how much had been disbursed nor how many were from the unionised sector compared to the non unionised sector,” she said.

“We would like to urge the MOM to monitor the utilisation rate more closely to ensure a better take-up rate to benefit older workers.”

She also noted that the training participation rate for workers aged 50 to 64 was only 23 per cent, compared with an average of 40 per cent for workers below 40.

“Even for this figure of 23 per cent, we are not clear whether the training was evenly distributed among all the age groups or whether it was more concentrated among the young older workers in their 50s,” she said, urging the MOM to evaluate the training of older workers.

PAP.SG has also suggested to the PAP Central Executive Committee to introduce a PAP Life Membership for Pioneers scheme, which would apply to members who are at least 65 and have served for at least 25 years.

“This scheme seeks to appreciate and value these pioneers as life-long volunteers in the community over the years. It further recognises their continued importance as volunteers to the younger members of the party given their wealth of years of experience as community volunteers,” they said.

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