Ask anyone on the road these days and the common gripe about retiring in Singapore is that it will never happen.
The reason: Singaporeans got to work till they die.
But is that really true?
The average statutory retirement age in the 34 countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is 65 years for males and 63.5 years for females. Singapore’s minimum retirement ageon the other hand is 62 years old.
But under the Retirement and Re-employment Act (RRA), employers are required to offer re-employment to eligible employees who turn 62, up to age 65, to continue their employment in the organisation.
So what’s the big deal about retirement and re-employment?
Some younger Singaporean working adults want to retire early at a younger age. However, mature workers seem to differ on that.
Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Heng Chee How shared in 2015 that participants in focus group discussions said that “they want to work into their senior years and past the retirement age, if they have a choice to do so.”
“Employment brings greater financial security and also keeps seniors meaningfully occupied and cognitively active.”
According to a poll done by Young NTUC in 2014, 70% of the respondents said they wanted the option to work past 62.
Indeed, there are Singaporeans, especially the older generation, who feel the need and want to work past the official retirement age.
The current re-employment age stands at 65. But this will change by 2017 when the re-employment age is increased to 67 as announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the 2015 National Day Rally.
“Many people in their 60s want to work longer. They say, ‘If I sit at home and do nothing, I will go ga-ga’,”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
Mr Heng, who is also NTUC Deputy Secretary General, said in the 2015 Budget Debate that investing in training and updating mature workers is the surest way to make best use of the nation’s total potential.
Singapore has a small and ageing population. With the tight labour market that she experiences currently, the best way to augment the labour participation rate is for companies to re-employ their workers who are able to work.
That way, our mature workers can earn more and live fulfilling lives.