Friday, February 27, 2015

Singapore: Budget Announcement Includes Increased Subsidies to, and Payments by, Employers for Older Workers

According the Ministry of Manpower, the Budget Statement delivered by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, contains two measures related to the hiring of older workers. First, starting January 2016, there will be an increase in the Central Provident Fund (CPF) salary ceiling and an increase in CPF contribution rates for older worker, with an additional 1% Extra Interest on the first $30,000 of CPF balances from the age of 55 also being introduced. See "Factsheet on CPF changes to help Singaporeans save more for retirement."

Second, support will be provided to businesses as they continue to restructure. The Temporary Employment Credit (TEC) will be raised to 1% of wages in 2015, or an additional 0.5 percentage points on top of the original TEC. The TEC will also be extended by 2 years, to help employers adjust to cost increases associated with the increase in CPF salary ceiling and the employer CPF contribution rates for older workers. In addition, employers who re-employ older workers aged 65 and above will receive an additional offset of up to 3% of an employee’s monthly wages through the Special Employment Credit (SEC). The SEC enhancement would help manage employers’ overall costs and encourage employers to voluntarily re-employ older workers aged 65 and above. See "Factsheet on the Extension and Enhancement of the TEC and Enhancement of the SEC."

Source: Ministry of Manpower MOM Announcements in Budget Statement 2015 (February 23, 2015)

In the Press: The Straits Times "Older staff may have to forgo pay rise for more retirement savings" (February 27, 2015); "Tight labour market means firms need older workers despite cost hike" (February 27, 2015)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

AARP Public Policy Institute Issues Report on Skills Training and Education for Older Workers

The AARP Public Policy Institute has issued a report written by Carl Van Horn, Kathy Krepcio and Maria Heidkamp of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, which explores a range of issues relating to skills training and education for older workers, including the challenges older workers face when deciding whether to enroll in education and training programs, and, if so, how to choose a program and pay for it. "Improving Education and Training for Older Workers" make several recommendations based on its findings related to the vast array of education and training options available to older workers, as well as education and training financing options available to them.

Among other things, the report found that:
  • Many older unemployed workers lack the skills that are currently in demand.
  • Many older job seekers are not well informed about the skills they will need to
    obtain a job or the best and most cost-effective way to obtain them.
  • Many federal and state workforce programs are not targeted to the needs of adult and working learners.
The report's recommendations include:
  • Government policy makers should insist on greater transparency from training providers and require them to report on the cost, duration, completion rates, and employment and earnings outcomes.
  • Congress should reform financial aid programs to better assist older workers, including requiring educational institutions to improve financial aid counseling for adult learners from qualified, independent third parties.
  • The tax system could be reformed to provide more financial support for older workers, such as expanding tax credits and deductions for education-related expenses such as transportation, childcare, and elder care.
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute News Release (February 25, 2015)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Singapore: Seniors Group Calls for Legislation Raising Re-Hiring Age to 67

According to news reports, the PAP Seniors Group (PAP.SG)—the seniors advocacy arm of the People's Action Party (PAP)—has submitted a position paper to Singapore's Ministry of Manpower, calling for legislation to increase the rehiring age for older workers from 65 to 67.

PAP.SG believes that while past legislative changes in the employment of older workers, coupled with the government grants and incentives, have helped older workers aged 55 to 64 years, he Government's plan to roll out incentives next year to coax more employers to raise the reemployement age to 67 is unlikely to be as effective as making it the law, especially in non-unionized sectors, where most workers are employed.

Sources: AsiaOne "PAP.SG calls for legislation to raise rehiring age for older workers" (November 18, 2014); Straits Times "Make it a law for firms to lift re-employment age from 65 to 67: PAP Seniors Group" (November 18, 2014)

Thursday, November 06, 2014

New Zealand: Employers Need To Balance Retaining Older Workers with Developing New Workers

According to an article from Hays, New Zealand employers must balance the nation’s aging workforce with the continued development of new entrants to the labor market if they are to remain competitive long-term. According to Jason Walker, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand:
“Those aged 65 and over in the workforce will increase in number, however by 2029 there will be fewer people in the labour force than not.

“Given the impending shrinking of the workforce, it makes sense to retain mature age workers for as long as possible.

“But we must not do so at the expense of training and developing new entrants to the labour market. If we look to the future, in order to maintain our competitive edge we need to ensure the country has a future pipeline of talent who have the skills and experience necessary to replace our ageing workforce when they do eventually retire. Otherwise there will be a skills vacuum that will take many years and a huge amount of investment to fill."
Thus, the balance that employers need to strike between retaining highly-valued, well educated and experienced older workers, and recruiting and developing the next generation of employees. However, the ultimate goal, according to Hays, is to focus on the recruitment, development and training of staff at all levels and of all ages.

Hays further explores the topic of the aging workforce in "Mind the Age Gap," published in the Hays Journal Issue 8.

Source: Hays Press Release (November 5, 2014)

Monday, November 03, 2014

Malta: Minister Addresses Ageist Culture in Workplace at Active Aging Conference

According to press reports, Helena Dalli, Malta's Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, has told a conference on active aging that Malta needs to change the present attitude by creating a culture change to combat ageism, since there are increasing reports of ageism in the workplace. She noted that, while the government can pass laws, changing the culture by highlighting this issue to employers will teach society that this mentality has to change.

Among other things, Dalli encouraged the elderly to maintain an active lifestyle, within their abilities, and encouraged employers to view older workers as assets with vast experience upon which to call.

Source: Malta Today "Ageist culture in the workplace needs to change--Dalli" (October 31, 2014)

Other information: Malta Independent "Active Ageing Strategy launched" (November 25, 2013); Parliamentary Secretariat for Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Active Ageing "Welcome Active Ageing

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Taiwan: Survey Shows Older Workers Planning To Work after Retirement Age

1111 Job Bank has released a survey finding that the vast majority of Taiwan’s office workers intend to continue working after they retire. The main reasons given are financial concerns or to gain a sense of achievement. Specifically, 85.9% of those surveyed said they would still work in one form or another after retiring, with about 51% saying that they will look for part-time work, another 13% intending to start their own business, and 18% planning to devote their energy to investing and managing their wealth. An additional 3.8% said they would try to find a full-time job.

1111 Job Bank vice president Ho Chi-sheng recommended that the government should quicken its pace in establishing a comprehensive care system for senior citizens, especially in view of Taiwan’s rapidly aging population, and advised enterprises to improve their work conditions and lower hiring thresholds for middle-aged and elderly workers.

Source: Taipei Times "Taiwanese office workers hope to work in retirement" (October 29, 2014)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Canada: Survey Finds Most Canadians Not Saving Enough for Retirement

Most Canadians are concerned they have not saved enough to sustain them through retirement, according to findings from a Conference Board of Canada report. In "A Survey of Non-retirees and Retirees in Canada: Retirement Perspectives and Plans," 60% of those 55-64 years of age, and a little over 40% of those aged 65+ report that they have not put enough money aside, and these numbers are lower for women and those with lower levels of household income. The Board also has published a companion report—"An Employer's Perspective: Retirement Savings and Preparedness"—examining employers' views on the retirement preparedness of their employees, and retirement savings plans and practices among Canadian organizations.

The effect of this is that over one-third of Canadians say they don't know when they'll be able to retire. In addition, the report finds that the average planned age of retirement was 63.2 years of age. Women (83.5%) were more uncertain than men (69.8%) regarding their planned future retirement, and up to 19% of respondents say they will never retire.
Concern over inadequate retirement savings has already led a good number of Canadians to delay their retirement. More than one in five respondents have decided to retire later than their initial plan five years ago. Furthermore, a full 45.6 per cent of respondents say they plan to continue to work part-time or on a contract basis after their official retirement, and the percentage increases with age. About 51 per cent of those aged 45-64, and 60 per cent of those aged 65+ say they will continue working past their official retirement date.
In the report on the perspective of employers, the Board reports that more than 40% of employers believe their employees are too optimistic in their assessment of when they will be able to retire, and close to 50% feel their employees are unaware of how much savings are needed for retirement.

Source: Conference Board of Canada Press Release (October 27, 2014)