Re‑employment benefits and employment opportunities for people with disabilities
Oral Reply to Parliamentary Question on re-employment benefits and employment opportunities for people with disabilities
Parliamentary Sitting: 8 October 2014
Ms Chia Yong Yong: To ask the Prime Minister (a) in respect of public sector employees (including those from restructured hospitals) from middle-management downwards who have reached retirement age but are selected to be re-employed on a contract-basis, what safety nets are in place to protect such employees from diminution of their existing employment benefits solely on account of such re-employment; and (b) in what ways does the public sector intend to lead the private sector by example in promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Oral Reply by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security, Minister in charge of the Civil Service and Minister for Home Affairs:
Re-employment in the public sector agencies takes reference from the Tripartite Guidelines on the Re-employment of Older Employees. The guidelines in use are no different from those in the private sector and discussed with employers and the unions. Our approach is to offer re-employment to all officers who meet the performance and conduct criteria, and are medically fit to continue working. Since 1 July 2011, 9 in 10 officers reaching the retirement age have been offered re-employment within the Civil Service. Agencies are urged to employ the majority of our officers in their existing jobs and at last drawn pay as far as possible. They are allowed to offer re-employment at lower grades for the more senior grades only if the post is no longer available or needs to be freed up to allow for leadership renewal. To provide greater certainty for lower wage officers, since 1 August 2013, all Division III and IV officers are re-employed at the same substantive grade and last drawn salary. These guidelines have been worked out in close consultation with our unions.
Re-employment is a new episode of employment. Where benefits are concerned, all re-employed officers will be placed on the prevailing leave scheme with their years in service refreshed. Pensionable officers can choose to remain on their post-retirement medical benefit scheme or take up the prevailing Medisave-cum Subsidised Outpatient (MSO) scheme. Non-pensionable officers without post-retirement medical benefits will be placed on the prevailing MSO scheme. As we have announced recently, the Public Service will take the lead to extend our re-employment age to 67 from 1 January 2015, so that more officers can benefit from re-employment. This is also in line with the Tripartite committee’s recommendations.
Re-structured hospitals are private entities with their own benefit schemes that would have considered the aforementioned Tripartite Guidelines as well, when they consider re-employment for their employees.
Recruitment into the Public Service is based on individual merit, through fair and open competition. We do employ officers with disabilities in the service and are prepared to do more. The Public Service Division is working with the Ministry of Social and Family Development to see how we can help agencies hire and tap on the diverse abilities of persons with disabilities.