Highlights of Singapore's age-friendly employment standards

New non-binding tripartite standards in Singapore set out best practices for employers to develop age friendly policies to retain and attract older workers aged 60 and over. The standards cover such things as recruitment, training, and physical plant and call for appointment of a manager to oversee the policies.

The standards were negotiated by the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trades Union Congress, and Singapore National Employers' Federation. Employers agreeing to abide by them could use a logo to support their recruitment and marketing efforts and their names would be listed on the website of the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).

Specifications of the new standard include:

  • Employers cannot use age as a criterion when advertising, shortlisting, or selecting job candidates
  • Employers must appoint a senior manager to champion age-friendly workplace practices
  • Older employees must be trained to perform their jobs effectively. Appropriate training could include classroom training, structured on-the-job training, e-learning, traineeships, and apprenticeships
  • Employers must introduce workplace age-friendly health programs for older employees, for example, advice on ergonomics, healthy diets, exercise regime, and regular medical check-ups
  • High-performing older employees who are not yet on the highest salary band should be awarded annual pay increments if these are paid to other employees.
  • Jobs should be redesigned to be age-friendly and to improve employees' productivity and job satisfaction. As part of this effort, employers should:
    • Make work less physically demanding for older employees by steps including the provision of larger visual display screens and the reduction of manual work and strenuous task
    • Install handrails and lights and provide slip-resistant flooring
    • Use automation to free employees' time for knowledge-based tasks. Employers may receive government funding and advice to help them redesign jobs.
  • Employers should hire employees who are within six months of reaching age 62 years on a reemployment contract. Thereafter their contract should be renewed within three months of its expiry for at least one year's duration.

TAFEP guidance includes several case studies outlining innovative employer programs and highlights the Fair and Progressive Employment Index that was jointly developed by TAFEP and the University of Singapore that aims to encourage employers to benchmark against industry peers.

Examples of other standards that have been issued recently cover recruitment (Mercer Select Intelligence, 8 Dec 2017), unpaid family leave (Mercer Select Intelligence, 9 Apr 2018), fixed term contracts (Mercer Select Intelligence, 4 Aug 2017) and workplace grievances (Mercer Select Intelligence, 30 Oct 2017).



By Mercer's Alanis Hon, Fiona Webster, and Stephanie Rosseau | 4 May 2018