Fortitude Budget

CPF increase for older workers deferred to 2022

The CPF Transition Offset scheme will be deferred until the higher contribution rates take effect. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The planned increase in Central Provident Fund (CPF) contribution rates for senior workers will be deferred by one year to Jan 1, 2022.

This is to help employers manage costs amid the Covid-19 pandemic, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday.

The increase, initially to take place on Jan 1 next year, will see employers and workers contribute either 0.5 percentage point or 1 percentage point more for workers aged 55 to 70, based on the worker's age.

CPF contribution rates of those aged 55 to 70 will be gradually raised during this decade until those aged 60 and younger enjoy the full CPF rates. Currently, the rates begin to taper down from 37 per cent after workers turn 55.

The CPF Transition Offset scheme, announced in this year's first Budget speech in February, will similarly be deferred until the higher contribution rates take effect, Mr Heng told the House. The offset scheme covers half of the increase in employer CPF contribution rates for one year.

Yesterday, Mr Heng thanked the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation for supporting the one-year deferment.

NTUC deputy secretary-general Heng Chee How said in a Facebook post after the announcement that the move will help save jobs for more older workers.

"The clear timeline also makes clear to older workers that their longer term interests remain the joint commitment of the tripartite partners," he said.

Pointing to how the Ministry of Trade and Industry had downgraded Singapore's 2020 growth forecast to minus 7 to minus 4 per cent yesterday morning, Mr Heng Chee How said many will find it very difficult to keep their livelihoods in the months ahead.

Workers will also find it harder to maintain their take-home pay because of the poor business environment, he added.

"In this situation, we must strenuously avoid adding cost from a particular segment of workers who are already vulnerable to businesses as it would only increase their risk of retrenchment.

"We must also avoid reducing their take-home pay in this hard time through the increase in employee contribution rates.

"Saving jobs for older workers is the imperative," he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2020, with the headline CPF increase for older workers deferred to 2022. Subscribe