Singapore: Retirement Age to Be Raised to 67

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By Michael Mackey

Nov. 28—Singapore's retirement age will be raised from 65 to 67 using a “promotional” approach recommended by the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers (Tricom), which is composed of representatives of unions, employers and the government.

“The promotional approach is about encouraging and incentivizing beforelegislating,” a Ministry of Manpower spokesperson told Bloomberg BNA.

The ministry provided no details on when legislation might be expected.

“The tripartite partners will review the effectiveness of the promotional approach and will recommend mandating the reemployment of workers beyond age 65 at an appropriate time,” the MOM spokesperson said.

Incentives and Perceptions

Tricom member Stephen Lee, employers representative and immediate past president of the Singapore National Employers Federation, suggested, however, that legislation may be some time in coming.

“We . . . welcome the time given to help employers to manage their older workers over the next few years before legislation sets in,” Lee said.

During this transitional period, employers are encouraged to voluntarily reemploy older workers to take advantage of their skills and experience.

“The promotional approach comprises incentives, as well as Tricom's ongoing efforts to enhance public perceptions of older workers,” the MOM spokesperson said.

MOM, Tricom and the Ministry of Finance have been discussing possible incentives to encourage companies to rehire workers older than 65, although no details have yet been released.

“We'll work out the package of incentives with the Government and will announce it at Budget 2015,” Amy Khor, Tricom chairperson and senior minister of state for manpower and heath, said in an MOM statement. “But employers have our assurance that the incentives will be effective from Jan. 1, 2015, and we encourage companies to start planning now and start putting in place policies and processes to prepare to reemploy workers beyond age 65.”

Getting Ready

For its part, the private sector is calm about the measures proposed.

“Tricom's recommendation is a clear signal to employers that the government will be legislating the extension of reemployment age beyond 65 in the future and that they should start preparing for that,” a spokesman for the Singapore National Employers Federation told Bloomberg BNA.

Singapore currently has a tight labor market, the result of a sustained economic boom and falling birth rates, and many employers are already reemploying older workers for their skills and to mentor younger staff, the federation and other sources noted.

Nearly all (97 percent) of companies in a survey conducted by the federation had offered reemployment to employees who turned 62 on or after Jan. 1, 2012, and 90 percent reported no reduction in compensation for those rehired, which the federation took as a sign that employers could bear the cost of reemploying older workers.

“With more workers reaching age 62 to 65 as a result of the aging workforce, employers must be prepared to reemploy more of such workers,” according to the federation. “They therefore must take appropriate measures such as wage restructuring or job design in order to be ready for this.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Mackey in Bangkok at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at rvollmar@bna.com