In 2013, the Straits Times ran a story titled “What older staff want: flexi hours, being valued”.
In it, human resource experts shared the list of wishes mature employees had. these included adequate pay, an age-friendly environment and continued medical benefits.
The report summed up the fear of feeling “lost” and being bored without work. They expressed also fears that children having families of their own and cannot be relied on to provide for parents.
We recollect the Prime Minister’s May Day Rally of 2013. The PM urged bosses to go beyond existing employment law and offer re-employment to those aged beyond 65.
Some companies have responded well to incentives such as AVANTAGE! in 2010 and other measures provided by the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers (Tricom).
Yesterday, the Ministry of Manpower announced a new law to legislate the re-employment of older workers up to the age of 67. This will be introduced by 2017. Of course the desire to be re-employed will be decided by the employee.
Today, the re-employment age will end at 65.
Tripartite committees have been proposing recommendations to the government to introduce incentives for employers who re-hire voluntarily. The Public Service took the lead in such voluntary re-employment to 67.
But what does this mean for the employee?
A sense of security
It is no secret that it will be very difficult to find new employment opportunities in your 60s. With the implementation of this new law, employees can enjoy a sense of security with the company they have been working with.
Reduced discrimination of middle aged workers
With jobs assured at the later years, workers in their 40s and 50s can have the confidence to switch employers or even take on new roles, with new skills. A decade ago, 40s seem to be the end of any more new employment opportunities. This has changed with the increase of retirement and reemployment ages.
Changing of national attitudes towards mature workers
This wave of change is led by tripartite partners. With pressure increased at the top, a shift in attitudes can be observed in due course. Take for example the Western economies. There, it is not uncommon to see C-Suite and top positions helmed by individuals who are above the age of 50s and well into their 70s even 80s. We want to give our middle to mature workers confidence to put their experience and skills to productive use.
Younger workers benefit from skills download
An economy that is heavy on matured workers give the corporation a sense of ground. Years of experience and skills honed by time can be downloaded to younger colleagues, giving way to fresher ideas and more productive, more profitable way of doing things.
Increase pool of local workers
The talent market in Singapore is shrinking. With tightening labour laws, employers are hard pressed to look for people to do work. The matured worker pool will increase the possibility of matching company requirements to individuals who want to continue working.
Work and self-sufficiency is important in a person’s life. Few people like to be dependant on anyone and especially in the silver years, many speak of a reluctance to depend on children for livelihood. If there are children in the first place seeing that marriage and fertility rates have been dropping.