Singapore Wants Older Workers to Keep Working

Government wants to keep up living standards.

With an average life expectancy of 80, it is no longer economically feasible to retire at 62 and the government will make changes to the employment act to encourage hiring of older workers, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said last week.

In his annual National Day Rally speech, Lee said Singapore's greying population, which is one of the fastest ageing in the world, is a factor behind the growing income divide. "The best way to be alright in old age and to have enough savings is to stay employed and to work longer," he said.

One in five Singaporeans will be aged 65 and above by 2030, compared with just one in 12 last year, according to recent reports.

Lee ruled out raising the retirement age to beyond 62 but said the government will instead pass legislation that will require companies to offer re-employment to older workers about to retire. "Simply raising retirement age beyond 62 may discourage employers from hiring older workers," said Lee, adding it was a "better approach" to pass legislation to allow for re-employment beyond 62 years old.

He said the government will pass the law to take effect from 2012.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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