Unemployment insurance must not give false sense of security

Gone are the days where experienced older workers were revered and appreciated.

These days, experienced workers in their late 40s and 50s can be laid off or forced out of the working arena, as companies make do with a less-experienced person who can do some of the job at a lower cost.

This practice pushes a lot of this segment of the workforce out of jobs. Even if they are hired, they have to work harder and, due to their new employment terms, may not be entitled to any days off, under the Employment Act.

If unemployment insurance is considered, there must be a certain timeframe for these workers to get back to the workforce, and a good robust policy that companies buy into to support the hiring of these people ("Three post-Budget wishes"; last Saturday).

But insurance must not provide the false sense of security that unemployment is all right.

For the scheme to work, it must be a tripartite arrangement between the employers, Government and employees.

Perhaps the Ministry of Manpower could give more assistance by including this group of older workers under a special section whereby paid days off and basic employment rights are given.

Juliana Ang Hiok Lian (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2016, with the headline 'Unemployment insurance must not give false sense of security'. Print Edition | Subscribe