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Singapore reaches milestone on older workers

March 2006

About 25 Singapore companies have committed themselves to the Advantage! scheme since it was introduced in October 2005 to help 4,000 mature employees to continue working.

A paint company brought in bar coding and helped 14 older workers with failing eyesight to keep their jobs, and a nursing home created 50 jobs for older workers by redesigning work processes to make them less physically demanding.

Stephen Lee, president of the Singapore National Employers’ Federation, said: ‘To prepare the workplace to receive older workers, whether on a factory floor or offices, companies have to make some investment both in the hardware and software. They shoulould perhaps look at how to take some of the heavier part of the work out, re-segregate the jobs, re-divide them so that one job is physically lighter. Employers would welcome this incentive mostly for preparation work and prepare the factory floor to make it more conducive for older workers to stay on.’

Richard Soh, regional general manager (Southeast Asia) of SCA Packaging Asia Singapore, said: ‘For us, [using older workers] is a win-win because, for the company, we get staff who are more reliable, who are more stable; and on the workers’ side, they continue to work, and they still get training and they upgrade their skills.’

The Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers is encouraging businesses in healthcare, transport, hotels, restaurants and other sectors, as well as manufacturing, to take advantage of the scheme, and create jobs for older workers.

By 2015, the number of workers in Singapore aged 50 and above is expected to increase from 380,000, to 600,000, and many in this age group already want to work beyond the legal retirement age of 62.




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