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Additional S$26m a year to support workers' training
AN additional sum of S$26 million a year will be committed to support workers' training, even as older workers get more help to secure employment as the government provides more incentives for firms to hire them.
In particular, the re-employment age will be raised from 65 years to 67 years with effect from July 1 this year, and will apply to workers younger than 65 years on that day.
The Additional Special Employment Credit will be extended until the end of 2019 for workers who are not covered. The scheme provides employers wage offsets of up to 3 per cent for workers who earn less than S$4,000 per month, and who are not covered by the rule of re-employment age of 67 years.
Together with the Special Employment Credit, employers will receive support of up to 11 per cent for the wages of their eligible older workers. About 120,000 workers and 55,000 employers will benefit, and the scheme is expected to cost S$160 million.
Ernst & Young Solutions tax services partner Chia Seng Chye said this scheme alone is neither a silver bullet nor a guarantee for continued sustained employment. "Older workers will be hired for their relevant skill sets and it is important that they continue to acquire new and deep skills to be relevant, particularly in this age of rapid technological change and disruption."
Deloitte Southeast Asia public sector leader Lee Chew Chiat said it is crucial for companies and the nation to "treasure the experience and expertise that our workers have acquired over the years".
He said: "All too often, many people view these workers with dated skills and refuse to adopt new ways of working. While it may be true in certain cases, there are many who are loyal employees who provide stability that businesses very much need."
To help workers transition to the future economy, an Attach and Train initiative will be introduced for sectors that have good growth prospects, but where companies may not be ready to hire yet. Industry partners can send participants for training and work attachments, which increases the chances of these workers to find a job in the sector later.
Shantini Ramachandra, tax partner of Deloitte Singapore, said the novel initiative will benefit workers or PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) who are out of work, as it would give them an opportunity to develop skill sets in new sectors and train for jobs of the future.
She said: "For it to work, the companies must have structured training or internship programmes in place."
Mr Chia said: "Although it may not reap immediate benefits, it broadens and deepens the skill sets of individuals and put them in a more advantageous position to seize opportunities when the sectors do thrive and businesses therein scale up and grow in the future."
Existing Adapt and Grow initiative will also be strengthen to help workers looking to take on new jobs, as they adapt to structural shifts in the economy.
More wage and training support will be provided under the Career Support Programme, the Professional Conversion Programme and the Work Trial Programme. The Ministry of Manpower will provide more details at the Committee of Supply debate.
- The re-employment age will be raised from 65 years to 67 years with effect from July 1 this year, and will apply to workers younger than 65 years on that day.
- Additional Special Employment Credit will be extended to end-2019.
- An Attach and Train initiative will be introduced for potential growth sectors.
- For more Budget 2017 stories visit bt.sg/budget17