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    Sep 30, 2014

    New age ceiling for older staff: 67

    RECOMMENDATIONS that the current re-employment age ceiling of 65 be raised to 67 gradually, and through the use of incentives, given that the Singapore labour market remains tight, have been accepted by the Government.

    The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said yesterday that the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers (Tricom) also proposed that the Government offer incentives to encourage companies to re-employ their older workers aged 65 and older in the interim, even before the legislation kicks in.

    Tricom comprises representatives of unions, employers and the Government.

    MOM said it is working with tripartite partners and the Finance Ministry on an incentive package to be unveiled early next year. The incentives will be backdated to Jan 1 next year.

    The Tricom has been discussing the timeline to raising the age ceiling since the end of last year.

    Diana Chia, president of the National Trades Union Congress, said the unions will work with member companies to raise the age ceiling ahead of the legislation kicking in.

    "In a tight labour market where the availability of foreign manpower will continue to be stringently managed, companies that retain and make full use of their existing manpower will enjoy an advantage over their competitors," she said.

    Stephen Lee, former president of the Singapore National Employers Federation, welcomed the time given for employers to adjust to the changes.

    He noted that in 2012, the law on the rehiring of workers aged 62 to 65 was introduced after employers had been given five years to prepare to manage these workers.

    "In particular, employers need to make the effort, where necessary, to restructure their wage system or to redesign jobs so that they can fulfil their extended re-employment obligations from age 62 to 67," said Mr Lee.

    The employment rate for older workers rose from 57 per cent in 2009 to 65 per cent last year.

    Last year, 99 per cent of private sector local staff who turned 62 were offered re-employment.