SINGAPORE, 8 Jan 2009: Singapore, concerned with the increasingly ageing population, plans to allow its workers to work beyond the current retirement age of 62 until the age of 65.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the government would require employers to offer re-employment to workers for another three years when they reached 62 though not necessarily in the same job or at the same pay.
“We are legislating not to further delay the retirement age,” Lee said at the “Reinventing Retirement Asia: Employment and Active Engagement Beyond 50″ Conference organised by AARP (formerly known as American Association of Retired Persons) and Singapore’s Council for Third Age here today.
Saying that population ageing affected all developed societies and brought complex and multi-faceted challenges, Lee added that Singapore was adopting similar steps taken by Japan in handling the ageing population by taking a more flexible and practical approach.
He said Japan’s population was already shrinking and Singapore was also moving on a similar path although the situation in the city-state was not as serious.
The prime minister said that by 2030 one-fifth of Singapore’s population, or nearly one million people, would be 65 years and older and this would be three times the number today.
This was the result of lengthening life expectancy with better healthcare and declining birth rates as more women remained single and couples had fewer children, he said, adding that the life expectancy was around 80 today and still going up.
He said the best way for people to adjust to a longer lifespan was to continue working for as long as they could and to keep them occupied after formal retirement.
“People today are healthier and the nature of work has changed. We can continue to lead active and useful lives well into our old age,” Lee added.
The prime minister said the government aimed to push the employment rate of workers aged 55 to 64 from 57% in 2008 to 65% by 2012. — Bernama