43% of workers age 55-64 have no employment. The govt will enforce legislation that will require employers to provide job options to older workers once they reach 62. This re-employment law is set to take effect in 2012. Under the law 'companies will have to offer to keep workers past retirement if they are fit and capable - but not necessarily in the same job or on similar wages as before'.
Think about it...if a company does not want to keep an older worker, what is there in the legislation that stops him from letting the older worker go? Among developed countries, Singapore is the easiest place to retrench workers. Nevermind older workers, companies can easily retrench younger workers if it helps to cut cost and keep profits up. One reason companies keep workers they don't need is if the amount of training invested is high and they can't get workers trained in the area easily - they will try with short work weeks, no pay leave etc before they start retrenching. The main reason for hiring older workers is tightness of the labor market - since the floodgates to foreign workers have been open, the labor market has never gotten tight enough to result in a favorable environment for older workers. The 2 old aunties at a coffeeshop near my place have been replace by 2 young guys from China. I've no idea where the aunties went but I don't think they make enough to retire on coffeeshop helper salaries.
If Lim Boon Heng is serious about the hiring and retention of older workers, he should look at our foreign worker policy. This policy has distorted the demographics of the workforce by opening the floodgates to younger workers from overseas - employers don't have to hire older workers anymore because they have an infinite supply of young workers from overseas. In the past when the economy booms and the labor market becomes tight, it was a chance for older workers to get employment...that chance has been taken away. Businesses are not going to listen to Lim Boon Heng ....its all words and no action..this new piece of legislation has no teeth and it is going to waste more time giving false hope to the thousands of ageing workers.
BT Article Published September 11, 2009
Start hiring older workers now: Boon Heng
By FELDA CHAY
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FeedbackMANY companies are still not moving to hire workers aged 55-64, even though re-employment legislation is set to take effect in 2012, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Boon Heng said yesterday.'My advice is: Don't wait, start working on it now,' he said. 'You have only just over two years to get ready.'Mr Lim was speaking at a luncheon where the Housing & Development Board, National Healthcare Group (NHG) and Royal Plaza on Scotts (RPS) were commended for winning AARP International Innovative Employer Awards - an initiative of US-based non-profit organisation AARP.According to the Ministry of Manpower, Singapore's employment rate for workers aged 55-64 is 57 per cent.'So we still have a long way to go to reach our target of 65 per cent by 2012,' Mr Lim said.When re-employment legislation kicks in in January 2012, companies will have to offer to keep workers past retirement if they are fit and capable - but not necessarily in the same job or on similar wages as before.'The labour market in Singapore is quite a small one,' Mr Lim told reporters at the event. 'Although we have not got out of a recession as yet, the labour market is tightening.
'When we don't have enough workers, we should look at the pool of people who are not working.' Firms should learn how to implement age-friendly practices from the three companies that won AARP awards, he said.RPS, for instance, no longer requires job applicants to put their age on application forms. It also has flexi-work arrangements for older workers, who work 22 hours a week instead of 44.NHG creates and re-designs jobs for older workers, and like RPS, it has introduced flexi-work for them. Some 17 per cent of its staff are aged 50 or older, and its re-employment rate is 85 per cent. At HDB, employees aged 50 and above make up 35 per cent of the work force.AARP selected 10 international winners for their recruiting practices, employee benefits, scheduling and retirement flexibility, and training opportunities, among other factors.