Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How is the Singapore workplane treating older workers?

Here in Singapore, there's a law -- the Retirement Age Act -- that allows companies to cut a worker's pay at 60. You can say that there's 'injustice' here and we won't argue. Really, the question above is subjective. It depends on whether you see this law being enacted properly or not or how your company is treating your seniors. The Singapore job market is full of mysteries like that. We can't give you a firm answer, to be honest.

Just last month, we've interviewed, Mr. Ong Teong Wan about staying productive regardless of age. A career after 50 is plausible he says and we believe him; however, from time to time, some headlines pop up and topple what we'd like to think to be our firm stand on this issue.

Being referred to as a senior professional means more working experience -- experience, as we all know, is a valuable professional asset. Madam L. Tay's argument goes along those lines, as she has shared in an article on The Straights Times last May 14. A teacher for 43 years, she turned 60 last year and days later her pay was cut by ten. "Madam Tay is riled that the government - her employer - is doing to its own staff what it is urging others not to do", to quote.

Recent surveys report that more bosses are hiring older workers than ever. Is this because the law gives them cost-saving favors?

Of course, there's a good reason behind the enactment of the law. Plus, the government has already stepped up to prepare employers for new legislation in 2012 that will raise the retirement age. Don't get the idea that the government is playing the villain here.

So who's side should you take? We say, neither. Employers and older workers should compromise. It all depends on changing mindsets. Instead of relying on their seniority, older workers should continue to improve their skills for a 'fair' salary. on the other hand, employers shouldn't consider the law as a measure of cost-saving. They should be willing to provide appropriate measures to it like reducing working hours and/or responsibilities.

Penny for your thoughts? Write to us.

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