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To provide greater support to the employment of older workers, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has announced an enhancement to the WorkPro Schemes as well as revised Tripartite Guidelines on Re-employment of Older Employees.
At last year’s National Day Rally, Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, announced that the re-employment age will be raised from 65 to 67 on July 2017.
While raising the re-employment age, MOM stated in a press release that it is also important to implement good age management practices and redesign jobs at the workplace.
It announced an enhancement to the WorkPro Age Management Grant and Job Redesign Grant which will take effect from 1 July 2016.
Jointly developed by the MOM, Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) and National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), these schemes aim to provide comprehensive support to encourage employers to put in place age-friendly practices.
Under the enhanced WorkPro schemes, a total of $66 million will be made available to companies over three years. The key enhancements come under three areas – Job Redesign Grant, Job Redesign Rider (new), and Age Management Grant.
Job Redesign Grant
Funding support will be increased to up to 80% of project costs, capped at $300,000 – twice the level of funding support under the existing grant.
Job Redesign Rider
This provides additional funding to companies that receive grants under the Capability Development Grant and Inclusive Growth Programme. Additional funding received can be up to an overall 80% cap, nett of other grants, if the project makes jobs easier, safer and smarter for older workers.
Age Management Grant
This provides $20,000 in funding to support employers in the adoption of four (an increase from two in the previous scheme) good workplace and hiring practices that directly benefit older workers.
Revised Tripartite Guidelines on the Re-employment of Older Employees
Additionally, the Tripartite Committee on the Employability of Older Workers (Tricom) has issued a set of revised Tripartite Guidelines on the re-employment of older employees, with two key areas of changes – the Employment Assistance Payment amounts and medical benefits.
Employment Assistance Payment (EAP) amounts
After considering all available options to identify suitable jobs for eligible employees, if employers are unable to offer re-employment, they are required to offer an EAP as a last resort. Tricom has reviewed the EAP amounts to take into consideration rising wages and the fact that employers’ re-employment obligations will be extended by two years.
To make medical benefits more portable, the Tricom has added leveraging Medishield Life (e.g. by providing additional Medisave contributions) as an option for employers to consider.
Employers should note that while these changes have been made, Gazetted Tripartite Guidelines (dated 11 January 2011) will still apply for re-employment disputes up until 1 July 2017.
Even before the legislation takes effect, firms with Singaporean workers aged 65 and above will continue to receive an additional wage offset of up to 3% till 1 July 2017, in addition to the wage offset of up to 8% for workers aged 55 and above earning up to $4,000 a month.