Do more to help older S'poreans who were laid off

Preliminary data from the Ministry of Manpower labour market report shows that 1,900 fewer workers lost their jobs in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year, while the seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate of Singapore citizens has stayed at 3 per cent (Retrenchments hit their lowest in nearly seven years; April 28).

It is not uncommon to hear of employers preferring to pressure workers to resign by making conditions unbearable at the office. Few bosses relish the thought of formally terminating a subordinate, no matter how justifiable the case may be.

Watching co-workers get laid off has a negative impact on the morale of the remaining staff.

Compelling employees to quit would also mean that internal administrative processes, legal exposure that may arise from dismissing workers and paying costly severance compensation may be avoided.

A publicly listed company that lays off a significant number of its workforce in one fell swoop may also shake the confidence of investors and shareholders.

With more companies resisting the issuance of official termination notices, retrenchments are understandably at their lowest since the third quarter of 2011.

In spite of the somewhat encouraging statistics, the number of people out of work may also be under-reported as past writers to the Forum, like Mr Simon Owen Khoo have pointed out (Unemployment numbers may be higher than thought; May 12, 2017).

The Government has to do more for unemployed Singaporeans, especially those who are older.

Edmund Khoo Kim Hock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2018, with the headline 'Do more to help older S'poreans who were laid off'. Print Edition | Subscribe