New standard to help companies adopt age-friendly workplace practices

Companies that adopt the Tripartite Standard on Age-Friendly Workplace Practices would, for example, appoint a member of senior management to champion age-friendly workplace practices and design jobs and the workplace to be age-friendly.
Companies that adopt the Tripartite Standard on Age-Friendly Workplace Practices would, for example, appoint a member of senior management to champion age-friendly workplace practices and design jobs and the workplace to be age-friendly.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Companies now have a new set of guidelines they can refer to and adopt to ensure that their workplace provides a conducive and inclusive environment for workers of all ages.

Companies that adopt the Tripartite Standard on Age-Friendly Workplace Practices would, for example, avoid using age as a selection criterion when recruiting candidates, appoint a member of senior management to champion age-friendly workplace practices and design jobs and the workplace to be age-friendly.

The standard was developed by the Manpower Ministry, the National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore National Employers Federation.

Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo, who launched the standard on Friday (April 27) at the Conference for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices, said such practices embody a new spirit of fairness and progressivity that enables companies and workers to keep up with rapid technological change together.

"All employers should find this relevant. Faced with an ageing population, we need to find more ways to unlock the potential of seniors in our workforce," she said at the conference held at Raffles City Convention Centre.

"Not every one of our seniors is ready to relax by the beach. They see their golden years as continuing to be part of a vibrant economy. We should enable them to do so."

Among the companies that have adopted the new standard is Rohde & Schwarz Asia, which produces measuring equipment used in wireless communications.

Senior director of operations Andy Goh said the company typically continues employing staff who have hit retirement age, without reducing their salaries.

"But we also expand their work, so they mentor someone younger. It becomes more of a coaching role, so they're developing the next generation of people," he said.

"It works out very well because the more experienced staff also would like to do something beyond technical work, and so we augment that with mentorship."

Mrs Teo also announced that 87 more companies have joined the Human Capital Partnership programme, a tripartite initiative that brings together employers who are committed to progressive employment practices.

These companies commit to nurturing a strong Singaporean core and enhancing skills transfer from foreign to local employees to increase the capabilities of the local workforce.

With the new batch of partners, there are now 221 companies in the programme, which was launched in February 2017.