PUB starts rehiring scheme for staff aged 65

PUB has introduced a new policy to offer 65-year-old employees like technical officer Danabal Kahsairajah re-employment until 67 years old. The agency had previously offered such re-employment on a case by case basis. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 
PUB has introduced a new policy to offer 65-year-old employees like technical officer Danabal Kahsairajah re-employment until 67 years old. The agency had previously offered such re-employment on a case by case basis. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

PUB, the national water agency, is among the first statutory boards to introduce a re-employment policy to keep 65-year-old workers in their ranks for two more years.

The initiative was put in place last month to retain experienced employees, as long as they meet health and work performance requirements.

"The reality is that PUB has a relatively sizeable mature workforce. If they can continue to contribute, why not re-employ them?" said PUB director of human resources Lawrence Tan.

Since 2012, firms have been required by law to offer re-employment to workers aged between 62 and 65, provided they are healthy and their work is satisfactory, or a one-off payment.

In May, the Government said it was looking at raising the re-employment age to 67.

Before its new formal policy, PUB, which has about 3,200 employees, did offer re-employment to those between 65 and 67. But these were on a case-by-case basis.

Mr Tan said that in the policy's first year, about 75 employees will qualify for re-employment, and 70 will be offered it. He added that most of them will continue to work in the same job with no changes to their salaries.

Technician Tan Ah Tee, who has been doing maintenance work for so long that he can usually spot the problem with faulty equipment within minutes, is one employee who has benefited.

The 65-year-old, who joined the national water agency more than three decades ago, still goes to pump installations across the island almost every day to check equipment and fix hiccups.

"I'm the oldest in my department, so when new employees come in I always try to teach them what I know," said the father of two grown-up children.

He said he would like to keep working, even beyond 67 years old, as long as he is healthy. "I feel content doing the job, and if I stayed at home I would have nothing to do," he said. "My family also liked that I got re-employed."

PUB technical officer Danabal Kahsairajah, 65, who was also re-employed, said his family supported his decision to keep working. "They told me I can retire if I want to, but I said I'm fit and I want to keep going. The work also gives me the chance to exercise, so why not?"

In December 2011, the Singapore Tourism Board also began offering 65-year-old workers re-employment up to age 67, if they meet various requirements. A spokesman said that so far, three employees were offered re-employment and all of them accepted.

zengkun@sph.com.sg