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    Nov 19, 2014

    Make higher rehiring age the law: PAP.SG

    THE seniors advocacy arm of the People's Action Party (PAP) wants to make it a legal requirement for companies to raise the re-employment age from 65 to 67.

    It feels that the Government's plan to roll out incentives next year to coax firms to do so is unlikely to be as effective as making it the law, especially in non-unionised sectors, where most workers are employed.

    This call for legislation was made in a policy paper that the PAP Seniors Group (PAP.SG) handed to the Manpower Ministry (MOM) yesterday.

    The group is led by former veteran union leader Halimah Yacob, who is now the Speaker of Parliament.

    Singapore's official retirement age is 62, although laws passed in 2012 mandate bosses to offer re-employment till age 65 to healthy workers whose work performance is satisfactory.

    In arguing the need for a law, Madam Halimah pointed to the reluctance of companies to raise the retirement age from 55 to 60 before the law was changed.

    Only 10 per cent of companies did so in the two years before the Retirement Age Act was passed in 1993.

    PAP.SG was formed at the party's convention last year, with the aim of shaping policies on issues that affect senior citizens.

    Besides re-employment, the group made four other recommendations. These include:

    MOM evaluating companies' training efforts for older workers, whose participation rate is often lower than that of their younger counterparts.

    The Government giving companies that raise their rehiring age earlier more rewards than those which do so later.

    Encouraging employers to make better use of existing grants to help them with the transition.

    Make available more statistics to the public - like narrower age bands for older workers who have been rehired - for better analysis.

    Internally, PAP.SG has asked the party's central executive committee, its highest decision-making body, to offer free lifetime membership to its pioneers.

    These are people aged 65 and older and have been members for at least 25 years.