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Singapore's ageing action plan: Wage offsets and part-time re-employment incentives extended for senior workers

Singapore's ageing action plan: Wage offsets and part-time re-employment incentives extended for senior workers

The grant will go a step further to encourage employers to offer two progressive workplace practices - flexible work arrangements (FWAs) and structured career planning (SCP).

Singapore's Ministerial Committee on Ageing (MCA) has launched the 2023 Action Plan for Successful Ageing to address the evolving needs and aspirations of current and future seniors.

In the process of developing the measures, the Government has engaged over 5,000 Singaporeans through more than 40 engagement sessions starting in 2019 to co-create the 2023 Action Plan and its new initiatives.

Taking into account the feedback, the 2023 plan will focus on community initiatives to empower Singaporeans to take charge of their own ageing journeys and is anchored in three ’C’s – care, contribution, and connectedness.

Under the contribution thrust, MCA has taken into account the wide range of preferences for seniors on how they would like to be able to contribute meaningfully in their silver years – from continued employment supported by more flexible arrangements, to taking up volunteering opportunities. As such, the following initiatives outline selected efforts under the 2023 Action Plan that aim to enable seniors to continue contributing their knowledge and expertise:

Remaining in productive employment

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has extended the Senior Employment Credit (SEC) from 2023 to 2025 to provide wage offsets for employers who employ Singaporeans aged 60 and above earning up to S$4,000 a month.

In tandem, the Part-time Re-employment Grant (PTRG) will also be extended with revised eligibility criteria from 2023 to 2025 to incentivise employers to offer part-time re-employment, other flexible work arrangements and structured career planning to senior workers. This will provide more flexible work options to attract and retain senior workers as well as support their career longevity.

Beyond incentivising employers to offer part-time re-employment, the PTRG will go a step further to encourage employers to offer two progressive workplace practices that will further support senior employment - flexible work arrangements (FWAs) and structured career planning (SCP).

FWAs have provided the flexibility that workers need in order to balance work and other responsibilities, such as caregiving. With more employers offering flexible work options, there is a higher chance that seniors can find work that is suited to their lifestyle needs.

In terms of structured career planning, many progressive employers already conduct regular career conversations with their employees to discuss their career and development plans, and they can synergise them with the company’s business transformation plans. In line with the recommendations from the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers, MOM hopes to make this a more prevalent practice, especially for workers aged 45 and above, to better prepare them for multiple careers.

Through structured career planning, employers can therefore map out future business needs and help their workers identify and develop the necessary skills to pivot with the company. It will also promote a growth mindset among their workers and encourage them to take greater ownership of their career and skills.

Further details will be shared in MOM’s Committee of Supply debate.

As Minister of Manpower Dr. Tan See Leng shared in his speech, "as of September 2022, more than $450mn of Senior Employment Credit has been disbursed, and this has benefitted almost 100,000 employers and more than 461,000 senior workers. More than 5,700 employers have also committed to a part-time re-employment policy under the PTRG. In the months ahead, this is expected to benefit more than 45,000 senior workers."

According to the Minister, there has been continued improvement in senior workers' employment rate — for seniors aged 55 to 64, it increased by 3p.p from 67.6% in 2019 to 70.6% in 2022. For seniors aged 65 to 69, it also increased by about 3p.p, from 44.6% in 2019 to 47.5% in 2022.

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and its affiliated unions have also worked with companies to increase their internal retirement age and offer re-employment beyond the legislated re-employment age. They will continue to work with companies to form Company Training Committees, that aim to help workers – including older workers – remain relevant and future-ready.

Learning while ageing

Built up through earlier efforts to enhance the senior learning landscape and make learning more engaging for seniors, the National Silver Academy (NSA) offers more than 1,000 courses across a range of topics catered to seniors. The courses will incorporate the newly launched geragogy guidelines which aim to enhance the learning experience for seniors. Selected courses will also be converted to online formats to offer greater accessibility to seniors.

The NSA aims to reach over 70,000 senior learners over the next five years.

Supporting retiring seniors to contribute through volunteering

The SG Cares Office under the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth will partner with RSVP Singapore to raise awareness and promote volunteerism among mature workers at their workplaces and collaborate with the National Council of Social Service to develop volunteer management resources to equip volunteer host organisations to better engage senior volunteers. This aims to engage 750 corporates to drive senior volunteerism by 2027.

MOH and the Council for Third Age will also roll out the enhanced Silver Volunteer Fund in 2023 to ensure senior volunteerism remains meaningful and sustainable for seniors. Efforts will focus on volunteer training and development, deepening volunteer appreciation efforts, and fostering opportunities for inter-generational volunteering.

Apart from the above, the connectedness thrust aims to build environment, social communities and senior-friendly neighbourhoods. This would include senior-friendly parks and gardens and equipping seniors with digital skills.

Meanwhile, initiatives under the care thrust seek to empower seniors to take charge of their own physical and mental wellbeing through preventive health, active ageing programmes and care services. This would include enhanced health and wellness programmes such as the ‘Live Well, Age Well’ programme by the Health Promotion Board, and pre-planning and preparing for end-of-life.

Lead image / Ministry of Health infographic

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