Wage offset for older workers extended to 2017

by Miklos Bolza02 Dec 2015
Employers in Singapore will continue to receive an additional three per cent of special employment credit (SEC) for employing workers aged 65 years and above, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced yesterday (1 December).
 
This wage offset was announced by the Deputy Prime Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, in the Budget Speech 2015. The offset was set to expire in December this year.
 
Yesterday’s announcement extends this deadline until sometime in 2017 when the re-employment age is finally increased to 67. The actual date is currently being discussed by members of the Tripartite, MOM said in a statement.
 
This three per cent of SEC applies to workers aged 65 and above who earn up to S$4,000 per month. Lasting for the course of a year, the additional wage offset will be calculated on top of the 8.5% wage offset given to employers in 2015 and would amount to almost one and a half months of the employee’s salary.
 
In the first half of 2015, MOM said it paid out more than S$22 million to over 49,000 businesses who employed approximately 110,000 Singaporeans aged 65 and above.
 
“We are determined to keep enhancing jobs at workplaces to make them more age-friendly, so that as workers grow old, they can keep performing jobs in an easier, safer, and smarter manner,” the Minister for Manpower, Lim Swee Say, said yesterday during a site visit to packaging firm, TCG Rengo.
 
Heng Chee How, deputy secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) told The Straits Times that the extension would continue to help businesses manage the increased training and healthcare costs of employing older workers.
 
He stressed that the additional wage offsets should not be used to merely lower payroll costs and should instead be used for training and restructuring in time for the 2017 government deadline.
 
“We must think about what we must do to our HR processes, our operations methods, and our technology and equipment … so that when the law kicks in in 2017, companies are ready, and workers are ready. Then the coming of the law will be a non-issue,” he said.
 
Related stories:
 
Re-employment age to be raised
 
Dealing with Singapore’s ageing workforce
 
Employer CPF contribution increases on the horizon

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