In a major relief to many older workers in Singapore, the re-employment age will go up from 65 to 67 from July onwards, and employers will no longer have the option to cut employees’ wages at the age of 60.
But employers will have more flexibility through the option of allowing consenting, eligible employees to be re-employed by another employer, under changes to the Retirement and Re-employment Act that were debated and passed in Parliament recently.
In his speech tabling the Amendment Bill, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said that the changes were based on “extensive consultations” with tripartite partners, taking into consideration Singapore’s ageing workforce, and balancing the needs of older workers and companies.
With the law amended, it will be legal for companies to transfer their re-employment obligations to another firm, with the worker’s consent required. If the worker disagrees, the original employer has to offer Employment Assistance Payment (EAP) to the worker, if it cannot find a job for him within the company.
After the changes were passed, the MOM, National Trades Union Congress and Singapore National Employers Federation issued updated re-employment guidelines that included the EAP revision. From a recommended range of S$4,500 to S$10,000, the new range is S$5,500 to S$13,000, or 3.5 months’ salary.
The new re-employment age — which means locals with satisfactory work performance who are medically fit should be offered re-employment until age 67 — will apply to those who turn 65 on or after July 1.
17 Members of Parliament took part in the debate and welcomed the abolishment of the option for employers to cut wages of employees who turn 60.