The Government will look at extending the re-employment age to 67 in “two to three years’ time”, said Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Manpower.
Budget 2015 included the announcement of the additional Special Employment Credit (SEC) to incentivise employers to hire workers aged 65 above. For Singaporean workers aged 65 and above who earn up to S$4,000 a month, the additional SEC will help employers offset up to 3 per cent of monthly wages in 2015 – meaning a total SEC of 11.5 per cent.
“We hope that this will encourage more employers to retain their older workers even after they reach 65 years and continue to benefit from their experience and expertise,” said Dr Khor, speaking at the Committee of Supply 2015 debate on Monday (Mar 9).
“We will monitor the outcome and look at extending the re-employment age to 67 in two to three years’ time.
“Our experience has shown that adopting re-employment as an approach to raising the employment rate of older individuals beyond the age of 62 works for Singapore. This puts us in good stead to eventually move the re-employment age to 67.”
This possibility was deliberated last year by the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers (Tricom), chaired by Dr Khor.
On Monday, she noted that feedback and data had shown that both employers and employees are increasingly open to the possibility of raising the re-employment age.
Citing the findings of a “Lifelong Employability” focus group discussion, Dr Khor said that the majority of respondents believed that work would help them to remain physically and mentally active and maintain their social networks. Meanwhile, employers in the study said they appreciated the experience and reliability of older workers, especially given the tight labour market.
The employment rate of Singaporeans aged 55 to 64 hit a record high last year, at 66 per cent, up from 65 per cent in 2013, Dr Khor said. “Even though the employment rate for this group of Singaporeans is high, we should continue to invest in our efforts to ensure older Singaporeans can continue working,” she added.
Preliminary data showed that nearly all – 99 per cent – of private sector local employees who turned 62 in the year ending June 2014 were offered re-employment, Dr Khor said, while more than 9 in 10 eligible public officers who retired at age 62 were re-employed. The current minimum statutory retirement age of 62 protects workers from below 62 from being dismissed on the grounds of age.