Singapore Budget 2014: Tripartite partners working on extending re-employment age
Published on Mar 3, 2014 2:31 PM
Older workers may face the prospects of working beyond the age of 65. Unions, employers and the Government have agreed to work on extending the re-employment age of workers to 67, Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Heng Chee How said on Monday.
Mr Heng, who is also the deputy secretary general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), said this will help seniors earn income for two more years, boosting their retirement savings.
"With life expectancy continuing to rise, I firmly believe that the re-employment age ceiling need not and cannot stagnate at 65," he added.
Besides helping seniors work longer, Mr Heng also called for a stronger push to ramp up workplace health practices to protect workers "against premature loss of employability and employment".
Without citing specific occupations, he said that jobs which require workers to sit, stand or repeatedly use their joints, or sectors that hire large numbers of older workers, should be targeted, so these workers can continue to remain healthy and keep working.
Mr Heng also praised the raft of measures under the Pioneer Generation Package, which covers the healthcare costs for the 450,000 Singaporeans who helped lay the foundations for modern-day Singapore.
But, he urged the Government to do more for seniors in areas other than healthcare. He suggested that the authorities draw up a list of financial help targeted at seniors and group them into healthcare and non-healthcare measures.
Healthcare costs involve large but infrequent bills, while non-healthcare spending such as transport are "more recurrent and related to the costs of living", he said.
He suggested, among other things, for the authorities to pay the transport fares of older Singaporeans and provide a different form of "basic support" for older workers who are under Workfare but cannot not find work due to old age.
These moves, said Mr Heng, will give seniors greater peace of mind when they grow old.
Mr Heng is the first of four labour MPs who are scheduled to speak on this year's Budget on Monday.