Parliamentary Sitting Date: 17 September 2007
Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance for each of the years from 2004 to 2006 (a) what is the percentage of workers which the Civil Service and statutory boards respectively offered re-employment to after they reached the age of 62, expressed as a percentage of the total number of workers reaching 62 in each of these two entities; and (b) how do these figures compare with the private sector’s re-employment rate for workers aged 62 and above during the same period.
Mrs Josephine Teo: To ask the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance if he can give an update on (i) the recruitment of employees aged above 40 and 50 into the Civil Service over the last three years and (ii) the current practice of the Civil Service in re-employing staff who retire at age 62.
Mdm Halimah Yacob: To ask the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance (a) what measures has the public sector implemented to promote the re-employment of employees aged 62 years and above; (b) what is the impact of the headcount freeze and best sourcing policies on the re-employment of such employees; (c) what are the terms of re-employment offered to such employees; and (d) whether such re-employment is offered to all grades of employees.
Oral Reply (for the Prime Minister) by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Minister in charge of the Civil Service and Minister for Defence:
Mr Christopher de Souza, Ms Josephine Teo and Mdm Halimah Yacob have asked questions relating to re-employment of employees reaching age 62 years and above in the public sector and recruitment of employees aged above 40 and 50 years into the Civil Service over the last three years. Mr Speaker, Sir, I will address the questions together.
Current re-employment practice & promotion of re-employment
The public sector has taken several steps to facilitate re-employment of retired employees, including amending its re-employment policy in September last year. Agencies are encouraged to offer re-employment to retiring officers, particularly those who have performed well and who can continue to add value to the organisation. Procedures were changed such that agencies need no longer conduct an open recruitment exercise if it re-employs its retired officer within six months from his retirement. The public sector also aligned its guidelines on the remuneration package for re-employed officers with the “Tripartite Guidelines on the Employment of Older Workers Above 62 Years Old”. Re-employed officers are paid based on the scope of work and responsibility that they are given when they are re-employed. Re-employed officers need not be limited to doing their previous jobs at their previous pay. Those who are given a smaller job scope and responsibility will be paid a salary that is commensurate with the size of the new job. Re-employed officers can be employed on various flexible work arrangements, including on a part-time, or on a project basis. One example is MOE’s Adjunct Teaching scheme which has 1,100 adjunct teachers aged 62 years and above. They are engaged on either a short term commitment of four to 10 weeks or a longer term commitment of one to two years. Adjunct teachers are given the flexibility to do purely teaching, purely CCA or a mix of both.
The Civil Service has also started an older worker database, the Evergreen Connect, in January this year where retiring and retired civil servants can sign up to be on the programme if they wish to be considered for job assignments in the public sector after their retirement. Of the 1825 officers who were invited, about one third have signed up for the programme. We have had a very modest start. To-date, we have successfully made 14 placements in the Civil Service. This programme will eventually be extended to include statutory board employees.
The Public Service Division works closely with government agencies and the public sector unions to educate HR personnel, line supervisors and managers in the public sector to explore ways in which they can enhance employment and employability of older workers in their organisations. PSD and the unions have so far conducted three workshops to-date covering 33 government agencies and will continue to run more of such workshops with the remaining public sector agencies.
The public sector targets to put in place service-wide re-employment schemes and policies within the next three years. We aim to be ready well before re-employment legislation is implemented in 2012. Work is in progress and details will be released when we are ready.
Recruitment of employees aged above 40 & 50 in the Civil Service
The average number of civil servants recruited in the 40’s age band in the last three years is 270 while the average number for those in the age band above 50 years old is 207. This represents about 6% and 4% of the annual recruitment respectively. This means that about 10% of new hires in the Civil Service last year were aged above 40 years.
Re-employment statistics for public sector employees aged 62 & above
The average number of civil servants who retired annually at age 62 years from 2004 to 2006 is 200. The re-employment rate at age 62 years for the Civil Service is 22% for 2004, 25% for 2005 and 53% for 2006.
For the statutory boards as a whole, on average about 410 officers retired annually at age 62 years from 2004 to 2006. The re-employment rate is 83% for 2004, 70% for 2005 and 96% for 2006.
We do not have equivalent re-employment data from the private sector for comparison with the public sector. Data from the Ministry of Manpower’s Labour Force Survey show that the national resident employment rate for workers in the age range of 60 to 64 for the period 2004 to 2006 moved up from 34% in 2004 to 42% in 2006.
Impact of headcount freeze & bestsourcing policies on re-employment
Mdm Halimah Yacob asked about the impact of the headcount freeze and bestsourcing policies on re-employment. Let me explain the objectives of these two policies. The manpower management framework was introduced in 2004 to instill discipline in the use of manpower resources in the public sector. The objective of the bestsourcing policy, introduced in 2003, is to market test whether non-strategic functions can be better done by the private sector and achieve greater value for money for the taxpayer’s dollar. Both these policies are not aimed at any particular group of civil servants. Rather, they are to help government be disciplined in the way resources are utilised. The statistics in fact show that there has been an increase in re-employment of retired officers, particularly in 2006.