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QINGDAO TODAY
在线翻译:
szdaily -> World Economy -> 
Singapore helps firms retain workers past retirement age
    2019-01-22  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

MOHSIN KHAN is still at his job repairing aircraft hydraulics parts, although the Singaporean turns 75 in a couple of months.

His technical skills are prized by his employer, and as his eyesight deteriorated slightly, the company invested about two years ago in a S$11,000 (US$8,140) laser-marker machine that uses a large screen to help emboss numbers in tiny font on metal plates.

About 80 percent of the money was subsidized by Singapore’s “job-redesign” grant, one of several government programs to help companies with older staff. For his employer, Aerospace Component Engineering Services (ACE Services), the grant helps retain workers like Khan whose skills are difficult to replace.

Khan says he remains employed and paid a salary long after his contemporaries had retired. “I didn’t want to be idling at home — doing nothing and spending money,” he said.

Tiny Singapore, one of the wealthiest nations in Asia, is seen as a test bed for how governments tackle ageing issues. Its population is the second-fastest ageing in the world after South Korea, according to U.N. figures, and the global financial hub is growing more dependent on its older residents as birth rates fall and foreign labor is restricted.

“Governments need to look after the needs of their ageing population, and enable older workers to work longer and stay productive,” Singapore’s Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said.

More than 650 firms in Singapore have made use of the up to S$300,000 job redesign grant since 2016. Other programs include wage offsets to employers of older workers and a grant to adopt progressive age management practices.

In most countries, it is left to the private sector to try to keep the experienced workers they need, although Asia’s two other rapidly ageing nations — Japan and South Korea — do provide grants and subsidies to firms for their older workers.

Philip O’Keefe, a lead economist at the World Bank, said Singapore, where the government has a reputation for innovation, is “a very interesting laboratory.”

He said Singapore’s multi-cultural society, compared with South Korea and Japan, and sizeable foreign workforce made the country a test case that would be watched by others. (SD-Agencies)

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