Government to help in re-employment of Singaporeans aged 65 and up

Jeanette Tan
1 May 2014
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on April 7, 2014

Singapore’s government promises to help its citizens who would still like to continue working after they pass their retirement age, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Speaking at his May Day Rally at the newly-opened Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong East on Thursday, PM Lee said changes will be made to Singapore’s Employment Act. This will help older citizens find work.

He also revealed that another continuous education and training (CET) institute is slated for opening later this year in Paya Lebar. These two CET facilities are funded by the government to the tune of $300 million.

Time needed

Without sharing too much detail, he said the government will amend the Retirement and Re-Employment Act to help these elderly workers, but doing so will take some time because of the need to consult with unions and employers on the best ways to do this.

Currently, employers are legally bound to offer their staff re-employment opportunities when they are due for retirement between the age of 62 and 65, provided that they have satisfactory work performance and are healthy. Then-Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin also said in February that his ministry was planning to raise Singaporeans’ re-employment age to 67.

Operated by the NTUC subsidiary e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), the Devan Nair Institute is a seven-storey complex that, according to a release from e2i, can train up to 50,000 workers each year in a wide range of sectoral and generic skills.

These — which include sectors ranging from early childhood and education to landscaping and digital animation, as well as employability skills, service excellence and productivity — are aimed at preparing workers to take on better-paying jobs. The centre will also provide training, career and employer services.

Connected to the world

In his rally speech, PM Lee said that despite dealing with teething issues, Singapore’s economy needs to remain open to foreign investment and talent so that it can continue to grow for the betterment of the lives of citizens.

Mentioning that the government is taking steps to stem the inflow of foreign workers — and with the Fair Consideration Framework — he stressed that “we must not send the wrong signal that Singapore no longer welcomes investments, or is turning away talent”.

He also stressed the need for Singaporeans to continue to remain competitive as a workforce, amid growing competition from our neighbouring countries.

“We cannot tell them to go away and leave us alone, but we can provide you the resources and the means to stay one step ahead of them,” he said. “If you apply yourself and make the effort, you will succeed."