Doubts remain over re-employment efforts for older workers

I regret that the reply by the Ministry of Manpower to my letter skirted my question (Legislation needed on raising retirement age, July 31; and Law in place to support employment of older workers, Aug 6).

I do not deny that there have been attempts to encourage re-employment.

However, the glacial pace of progress has cast doubts on whether these have really been effective or supportive.

In addition, despite the efforts of agencies advocating fair employment and non-discriminatory employment, unfair practices exist with very little recourse for the mature employee.

For example, despite an employee doing exactly the same job, there are employers that extract a pay cut the moment that employee crosses a certain age - and the guidelines do not prohibit it.

It is in the national interest that re-employment efforts be given some teeth without further delay.

The measures thus far have been more business-friendly than fair. As corporate citizens, businesses have a responsibility to ensure that willing, able-bodied Singaporeans are employed. This has become more pressing given our ageing population.

Furthermore, it is no encouragement that despite the longstanding tripartite engagement and despite the efforts of Cabinet ministers helming the NTUC, employers still have to be encouraged to re-employ fairly.

It has been at least a decade since re-employment was mooted. Either the Government is being too soft on employers or the employers are not taking the Government seriously.

Perinpanayagam James

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2018, with the headline 'Doubts remain over re-employment efforts for older workers'. Print Edition | Subscribe