Is there a Definite Retirement Age?

“For those who wish to work longer, we will be raising the retirement and the re-employment ages. I will say more about these matters at the National Day Rally.”

That was said by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Message given on 8 August 2019.

Since the 1990s, the issue of retirement age has been much discussed, and the Labour Movement has been involved in all those discussions.

Before PM Lee says more about the issue of retirement and re-employment at his National Day Rally speech this Sunday, we thought it would be a good idea to retrace their development in Singapore over the years.

Before 1993

Did you know that before 1993, Singapore didn’t have a legislated retirement age?

But if you’re wondering why you remember people retiring at 55 back then, it was because 55 was the unofficial retirement age. The age was pegged to the CPF withdrawal age of the time.

Retirement Age Becomes Law

In 1993, the Government consulted both NTUC and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) before introducing the Retirement Age Act. The retirement age was set at 60. Some six years later in 1999, the law was amended to revise the retirement age to 62.

Introducing Re-Employment 

As Singapore moved into the 2000s, Singapore’s total fertility rate started to decline.

In fact, it still remains a challenge today. The total fertility rate was 1.4 for every woman in 2018. When this is paired with the increased life expectancy of Singaporeans – the world’s longest with  84.8 – almost half of the country’s population will be above 65 by 2050.

For Singapore’s population to replace itself without immigration, fertility rate should be at 2.1.

Enter the Retirement and Re-employment Act – the Act was introduced in 2012 to provide mature workers to choose if they want to continue working beyond the retirement age of 62, up to the age of 65.

But after discussions with NTUC and SNEF, the Government increased the number of years a person should be offered re-employment, from three to five years from July 2017.

So today, instead of being re-employed up to the age of 65, a person will be offered re-employment until 67.

Now we’re up to speed about the retirement and re-employment age, let’s wait and see what announcements will come out about the issue.

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