Introduce shorter work shifts for seniors

We agree that it is good not to "work until we can no longer do so" ("Don't miss out on life's best chapter" by Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi, and "Ageism prevents seniors from continuing to work" by Mr Simon Owen Khoo Kim San; both published last Wednesday).

However, retirees should be able to return to the workforce if they need or desire to do so.

We propose a new work environment for seniors to consider: shared employment, where two or more seniors come together to do a job - for example, two or three drivers doing different shifts to fulfil a driving task, or two or three hawkers selling food at the same stall.

A professional, managerial, engineering or technical job can be broken into two or three parts so that seniors do not have to toil the same long hours as younger workers.

There can be two or three supervisors, instead of one, at an office or worksite. Their different experiences and management skills can benefit employers and colleagues, as better ideas and more variety can be brought to bear.

The trick lies in having a coordinator or scheduler to provide the seamless production required. Reverse Cooperative can undertake this role, for the benefit of older workers.

Shift work exists currently for work that lasts longer than eight hours. We propose that eight-hour shifts be reduced to three- or four-hour shifts for seniors.

This will bring more workers back into the workforce, enable employees to stay productive, and give them time for work-life balance.

Geoffrey Kung Kuo-Woo


Reverse Cooperative

FORUM NOTE: Reverse Cooperative is an organisation by seniors to help seniors

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2016, with the headline 'Introduce shorter work shifts for seniors'. Print Edition | Subscribe