More work needed to train senior workers ahead of time
This will help them prepare in advance as retirement and rehiring ages are raised: Manpower Minister
The latest changes to the laws on retirement and re-employment age and to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme will help people to better prepare for and enjoy their retirement, said Manpower Minister Tan See Leng in Parliament yesterday.
But he added that laws are not a panacea, and that more work has to be done in training older workers way ahead of time.
With the new changes, the retirement and re-employment ages for Singapore workers will be progressively raised to 65 and 70 years old respectively to support older Singaporeans who wish to continue working to do so.
Dr Tan said: "Together, the Bills will help our members better prepare for and enjoy their retirement.
"But the work does not stop here. We are confident that further progress on senior worker employment will be made."
For one, investments have to be made in retraining and facilitating employment, not only for older workers but the future cohorts of senior workers, he said.
Dr Tan also agreed with labour MP Heng Chee How (Jalan Besar GRC) who said on Monday that strengthening the employability of senior workers cannot start only when they are near retirement age. "Continuing education and training is just as important as pre-employment training, as a means for our workers to upgrade their skills, remain relevant, and keep pace with global trends and developments," he said.
Central Provident Fund (CPF) rules will continue to be simplified, with the CPF Board ensuring they are smoothly implemented for members, said Dr Tan. He also reiterated that there is no change to the CPF withdrawal or payout age.
Said Dr Tan: "Let me reassure everyone, the Government has not suggested changing the payout eligibility age. The payout eligibility age is not linked to the retirement or re-employment age."
People will continue to have the flexibility to make lump-sum withdrawals from age 55, years before they start their monthly payouts, he added.
Meanwhile, more is being done to tackle ageism, with progress being made by the Tripartite Committee on Workplace Fairness, which Dr Tan co-chairs. It hopes to finalise recommendations by the first half of next year.
Dr Tan also touched on re-employment, in response to concerns from MPs that such contracts might not be fair to senior workers. "The re-employment framework is designed to balance the need to enable senior workers to continue working, while giving employers sufficient flexibility so that businesses can remain nimble and sustainable," he said.
He added that the majority of re-employed workers continue on their existing contract or a new one in the same job, and more than 95 per cent employed in the same job did not get wages or benefits cut.
"Early communication and discussion is critical to ensure re-employment offers are reasonable to both parties," he said.