Most Singaporeans aged 50 and above support raising re-employment and retirement age: Survey

PAPSG chairman Tan See Leng (fourth from left) said the upcoming workplace fairness legislation will further strengthen protection against workplace discrimination. - ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

SINGAPORE: A majority of Singaporeans aged 50 and above support raising the re-employment and retirement ages, according to a survey on workplace support.

Among those surveyed, about nine in 10 (87.9%) Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 50 and above supported a retirement age of 63 years and higher, and eight in 10 supported an official re-employment age of 68 and above.

Conducted by the PAP Seniors Group (PAPSG) and National Trades Union Congress U Women and Family, the online survey sought to garner views on retirement, re-employment and flexible work arrangements.

It gathered the views of 1,471 working individuals aged 50 and above from Aug 7 to 21. The findings were released on Saturday in commemoration of the International Day of Older Persons.

Among the top employment challenges and barriers respondents cited were negative employer attitudes and age discrimination, inflexible working arrangements, long working hours, and limited availability of suitable job opportunities.

In his keynote speech to commemorate the day, PAPSG chairman Tan See Leng said: “In the decade ahead, I would like to charge PAPSG with a new mission, even as we continue to champion elderly causes...

“I want to humbly suggest to all of you to help us build a culture of the 3Rs: a Respect, Regard and Recognition mindset towards our older generation.”

In terms of respect, Tan hopes that both senior and younger PAP members can work together to volunteer in the active championing of elderly causes, with a platform and ecosystem for the young, middle aged and the elderly to share ideas and new thought processes and to push boundaries.

He also hopes that all workers, including senior workers, can have the assurance of being treated fairly at work, without discrimination based on their age.

Tan, who is also Manpower Minister, said the upcoming workplace fairness legislation will further strengthen protection against workplace discrimination, including age discrimination.

With an ageing workforce, there will be a stronger imperative to ensure workplaces are fair and open to workers, regardless of age, he said.

“We will put in place the necessary support measures to also nudge, encourage and facilitate our employers on this path.”

To recognise that older Singaporeans can still contribute to the workforce, Tan said the government will progressively raise the retirement and re-employment ages to 65 and 70, respectively, by 2030.

“And I hope that when I push that, you will all resoundingly support us,” he said to the 200 attendees comprising PAP activists, retired MPs, as well as employers and employees.

He noted that the first increase in the retirement and re-employment ages to 63 and 68 took effect from July 1, 2022, without much fanfare.

Tan added that as the government continues to support employers in their transition to hiring an ageing workforce, the CPF contribution rates will be gradually raised for senior workers aged 55 to 70 by helping them save more for retirement.

In addition, the Majulah Package announced at the National Day Rally 2023 “will make significant needle-moving impact to help seniors meet their basic retirement needs”.

For the lower- and middle-income workers who remain in the workforce, the Earn and Save Bonus will provide a CPF bonus of between S$400 and S$1,000 every year.

Seniors with less wealth and CPF savings can look to the Retirement Savings Bonus of between S$1,000 and S$1,500, while the one-off MediSave Bonus, of between S$500 and S$1,000, is for those with less wealth.

More details will be shared during the Committee of Supply debate for Budget 2024, but eight in 10 Singaporeans aged 50 and above in 2023 will benefit from the Majulah Package.

Existing schemes like the Silver Support, Workfare and the Matched Retirement Savings Scheme will also be enhanced. - The Straits Times/ANN

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