Singapore seeks more flexibility in hiring of elderly employees

There is concern that a law that protects senior employees from dismissal due to age may lead to unconscious bias.
By: | October 10, 2022

Under the Retirement and Re-Employment Act, when an employee reaches the retirement age – currently 63 years – the company will have to re-employ them until they reach the re-employment age, which is currently at 68.

Companies may see it as a risk to hire a senior person if he or she turns out not to be a good fit for a role, as the company will be required to offer re-employment for the person upon reaching retirement age,  said Member of Parliament Jessica Tan, while calling for a more concerted focus on senior employability.

In response, Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang said firms have some flexibility to adjust re-employment terms, so that they can provide employment opportunities to senior workers while staying competitive. 

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An employer who is unable to identify a suitable position to re-employ the senior worker can, as a last resort, provide an Employment Assistance Payment in lieu of re-employment, she said. This is to help the worker tide over while he or she seeks alternative employment. 

These flexibilities are the outcome of close discussions among tripartite partners, and seek to mitigate concerns that re-employment policies may inadvertently disincentivise the hiring of senior workers, said Gan.