Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on employment practices of older workers in the public service

10 May 2021

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on employment practices of older workers in the public service

Parliamentary Sitting: 10 May 2021

Miss Cheryl Chan Wei Ling: To ask the Prime Minister (a) what percentage of workers aged 60 and above are full-time staff or contract workers in the public service; (b) what roles are these workers assigned to; (c) what changes are made in the public service hiring process to ensure those aged 60 and above have fair interview opportunities; and (d) whether flexible work arrangements are applicable for this group of workers.

Written Reply by Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade & Industry and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service.

Approximately 3% of the Singapore’s resident labour force, aged 60 and above, are full-time staff/contract workers in the Public Service. These officers are employed in a wide variety of roles across the Public Service, including teachers, operations, technical roles and corporate administration.

Public Service recruitment is based on merit and not on age. Our recruitment practices are aligned with the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (or TAFEP) guidelines. We recruit on the principle of selecting the “best person for the job”, taking into account their skills, qualifications, work experiences and personal attributes against the job that they applied too. We do not ask for a candidate’s age in our Public Service Application Form, and regularly review the form in tandem with changes to TAFEP’s guidelines on fair hiring practices.

Similarly, access to flexible work arrangements is not based on age. As long as their job nature allows for it, public officers of all ages can have access to flexible work arrangements such as staggered start-work hours, telecommuting and part-time work. The Public Service is committed to the employment and employability of mature workers. Besides extending our retirement and re-employment ages from July this year, one year ahead of the national schedule, we have made available career coaching and additional training across the Public Service to support our officers to adapt to changing work demands and to take up different job roles. PSD will continue our efforts to educate the leaders, supervisors and HR managers across the Public Service so that everyone plays their part in ensuring the employment and employability of our mature workers.