SINGAPORE: The Singapore government is aware of the cost pressures businesses will face as a result of the upcoming increase in retirement and re-employment ages, as well as higher Central Provident Fund (CPF) contribution rates for older workers, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Tuesday (Aug 20).
Mr Chan said the Government will work closely with the Singapore National Employers Federation and unions to help businesses adjust to the changes.
The Government will also take economic conditions into account as the changes are rolled out over the next decade.
“We think it is the correct thing to do for the long term to ensure that our workers have sufficient retirement savings. And also, by lengthening the career, it also allows people who live longer the chance to contribute meaningfully to the society,” Mr Chan said.
“The question is, how do we make this transition? If we make the transition too fast, it’s very difficult for the business to adjust, especially in a very challenging external economic environment.
“But if you make it too slow, then we will actually deprive many cohorts of older workers to stay meaningfully employed.” Mr Chan added.
READ: Full restoration of CPF contributions for those aged 55 to 60; higher rates for workers above 60
Speaking after a visit to local seafood distributor Hai Sia Seafood, Mr Chan said companies will need to play their part to cater to older workers, through efforts such as redesigning jobs and work processes to create a more productive and inclusive workplace.
“Every company, including the public service, need to redesign their jobs to employ older workers in a more productive way. Our workers also must play their part, to make sure that they keep pace with the changes in the employment landscape.” Mr Chan said.
Using Hai Sia Seafood’s implementation of automation as an example, Mr Chan said that new machinery has helped to ease the process of scaling, filleting and packaging fish for distribution, which traditionally takes place at night for the company.
More fish can be processed in a shorter time, giving workers in the company the option to switch from the overnight shift to the day shift.
READ: PSD to raise retirement, re-employment ages in 2021; more than 2,000 public officers to benefit
Tan Teng Kwang - who used to work shifts - welcomed the effort, saying that the switch gives him more time to spend with his family.
The 64-year-old added that the automated process is physically less demanding compared to doing it manually.