Rehired teachers upset over 30 per cent pay cut

MOE says the new pay scheme is in line with new re-employment guidelines. (Yahoo!)
MOE says the new pay scheme is in line with new re-employment guidelines. (Yahoo!)

The Ministry of Education's (MOE) move to lower wages for retired teachers who are re-employed by up to 30 per cent has left many unhappy.

Singapore Teachers' Union General Secretary Edwin Lye yesterday told The Straits Times that the pay cut was "regressive" and "viewed as unfair and inequitable by many teachers."

Citing a tight labour market and the need for experienced teachers in schools, he said those were enough reasons to hire retired teachers on their last drawn pay or an amount closer to it.

Re-employed Chinese language teacher Chua Meng Yuen, 70, told the same paper: "This move does not come as an encouragement to older teachers. Across- the-board pay cuts should be accompanied by across-the-board cuts in workload."

However, there are some teachers who felt that the pay cuts were acceptable.

Madam Ng Choon Lan, 64, also a Chinese language teacher said: "I've heard many fellow teachers complaining about the cuts, but in my case, I am fortunate to have a principal who is willing to lighten workload accordingly, so I think a cut is reasonable. After all, older teachers don't have the same energy levels as their younger colleagues."

The scheme to cut wages for retired teachers is part of the civil service's plans to prepare for a re-employment law which makes it compulsory for employers to offer to rehire workers who reach 62.

The law takes effect in January 2012.

Under the new pay scheme, teachers will be offered employment up to age 65, as required under tripartite guidelines on the re-employment of older workers that were issued in March.

According to MOE, there will be a one-year renewable contract with monthly wages offered to teachers who are rehired.

They will be entitled to a year-end engagement bonus, standard annual increments and other bonuses such as a 13th month bonus.

Currently, more than 600 retired teachers out of a teaching force of 33,000 are serving as contract adjunct teachers, and MOE is "deeply appreciative of their dedication to the service."

MOE estimates that within the next two years, more than 250 retiring teachers will benefit from the new scheme, which apply only to new contracts signed by those above the age of 62, not to younger teachers who are rehired.

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