MOM to continue subsidising wages of older workers

Under the existing scheme by the MOM, employers can get up to 3 percent more wage credit if they rehire Singaporeans who are aged 65 and above, and who earn up to $4000 per month.

In 2015 alone, the Government padi out over $22m to more than 49,000 employers for rehiring about 110,000 of older workers.

The move comes amidst rising wages, rising labour participation and a declining economy. It is also seen to be softening the ground to be ready for a new re-employment law to be passed. RE-Employment age ceiling to 67 could be passed by 2016.

National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) deputy secretary-general Heng Chee How said the labour movement welcomed the move, adding that it could help employers cope with the higher training and healthcare costs that hiring older workers might incur.

However, he warned against using the additional credit in the “most passive way”, treating it as a mere subsidy that lowers payroll costs, instead of pumping it into training or restructuring.

“We must think about what we must do to our HR processes, our operations methods, and our technology and equipment… so that when the law kicks in in 2017, companies are ready, and workers are ready.”

Over 2.23 million residents worked the labour force in June this year, with 1.22 million men and 1.02 million women. Reflecting an ageing population, about one in three residents in the labour force were workers aged 50 and over, up from one in four in 2006.

But the quality of the resident labour force has improved, with 52 per cent of the residents in the labour force being tertiary-educated, up from 39 per cent in 2006.

The resident unemployment rate stayed low, at 2.8 per cent in June, similar to a year ago. Unemployment climbed for older residents – those aged 50 and over – and non-degree holders as job growth eased in the first half of this year.



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