Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Singapore: Eligibility, Health Insurance Issues Arising under Reemployment Law for Older Workers

Since Singapore's Retirement and Re-employment Act came into effect on January 1, 2012, a number of issues have arisen, according to press reports. Deputy Prime Minister and Manpower Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has stated during Parliamentary questions, that 14 dispute cases relating to the reemployment rights of older workers have been presented to the Ministry, and Minister of State for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin has called on employers to work with insurance companies to ensure that the medical needs of those reemployed are met.

With respect to the dispute cases, Shanmugaratnam said most of the cases were over eligibility for re-employment, but otherwise that implementation has been smooth. He urged employers to refer to the "Tripartite Guidelines on the Re-employment of Older Employees" which provides advice on engaging employees and in making re-employment offers.

With respect to health insurance, Tan said issues are arising with respect to newly re-employed persons more so than older employees continuing to work for their employer. For those affected, hed said that if "an insurance company does not extend the coverage of the scheme up to the age of 65 and also requires re-employed employees to be re-assessed, the employer should work with the insurance company to address this issue so that the medical needs of these employees can continue to be met." In addition:
Industry feedback drawn from various briefing and outreach sessions has shown that companies have already raised the coverage of their group medical insurance schemes for their employees to the age of 65, or beyond. In such cases, re-employed workers would continue to enjoy medical benefits under their company’s medical insurance schemes. By so doing, they would avoid the risk of being denied coverage for existing medical conditions that were previously covered.
Sources: Channel News Asia "Employers to ensure medical needs of older workers are met: Tan Chuan-Jin" (April 9, 2012); Manpower Ministry Parliament Questions and Replies (April 9, 2012)

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