The Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant (SWEAG) and the Part-Time Re-employment Grant (PTRG) were introduced as part of the Senior Worker Support Package in February 2020. These grants are providing businesses up to $250,000 and $125,000 respectively to implement key recommendations to support older workers.
One reason for the roll-out of this is certainly because Singapore and her businesses have to ready itself to hire increasingly older workers. We can’t run away from the fact that Singapore is a rapidly greying country. In terms statutory requirements for companies, the retirement age and re-employment age in Singapore are poised to be increase to 65 and 70 respectively by 2030. The first phase will take effect on 1 July 2022 – with the Retirement age increasing to 63 from 62 and Re-employment age increasing to 68 from 67.
Bear in mind that these schemes were announced in February 2020, which was even before the effects of COVID-19 were played out in Singapore. Ultimately, COVID-19 had a drastic impact on older workers in Singapore.
Seniors Went On To Be Disproportionately Affected By COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic affected senior workers disproportionately across many indicators. In a recent labour force report by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), older workers aged 60 & above saw the highest reduction in hours worked per month at 14.4 hours, due to COVID-19.
Unfortunately, part of the reason was because they were also least able to perform their duties from home, as only 24.1% of employees aged 60 & above were able to work from home due to COVID-19.
As a result, the unemployment rate of PMETs aged 50 and above also increased to 4.3% in 2020 from 3.2% the year before, while seniors who were non-PMETs fared worse as unemployment rose to 5.0% from 3.7%.
Against this backdrop, the government with targeted schemes and companies with an open mind have to come together to tap on senior workers in Singapore. Ultimately, the local workforce will comprise of increasingly older workers with Singapore’s rapidly greying population.
What Is The Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant (SWEAG)?
The Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant (SWEAG) provides funding of up to $250,000 to progressive employers willing to raise both internal retirement and re-employment ages ahead of the legislative schedule.
The current retirement age is 62, while the re-employment age is 67 in Singapore. By 1 July 2022, this will increase to 63 and 68 respectively. By 2030, they will rise to 65 and 70 respectively.
The Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant provides funding per senior worker (aged 60 & above), depending on the extent of the increase in a company’s internal retirement and re-employment age and the number of employees:
|Company’s Retirement Age||Company’s Re-Employment Age||Funding Per Senior Worker (Aged 60 & Above)||Total Eligible Funding (up to 50 senior employees)|
|63 (increase by 1 year)||68 (increase by 1 year)||$1,000||$50,000|
|64 (increase by 2 years)||69 (increase by 2 years)||$2,500||$125,000|
|65 and above (increase by 3 years or more)||70 and above (increase by 3 years or more)||$5,000||$250,000|
Source: Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
The funding is applicable up to 30 June 2021, as businesses need to apply the changes at least 1 year before scheduled statutory increases. Applications for companies open from 1 July 2020.
To calculate how much SWEAG an employer will be eligible for:
Step 1: Decide on the number of years you want to increase both the internal retirement and re-employment age internally. This must be the same number for both (or the lowest tier will be used). This will determine how much you receive per senior employee.
Step 2: Determine the number of senior employees it will benefit (those aged 60 & above at the point of application). This is capped at 50 senior employees.
Step 3: Multiply Step 1 x Step 2.
What Is The Part-Time Re-employment Grant (PTRG)?
The Part-Time Re-employment Grant provides funding of up to $125,000 to employers who are willing to commit to offer re-employment opportunities to eligible senior workers who request for it. This is meant for employers to restructure their work arrangements to accommodate more part-time senior employees.
As background, the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers observed that senior workers increasingly prefer to reduce work intensity as they approach retirement, while they were prepared to remain in the worforce under part-time arrangements during re-employment (currently between age 63 and 67).
Funding of $2,500 per senior worker (aged 60 & above) will be provided. Applications for companies open from 1 July 2020.
To calculate how much PTRG an employer will be eligible for:
Step 1: Determine the number of senior workers eligible. This is capped at 50 senior employees.
Step 2: Multiply Step 1 x $2,500.
How To Apply For The Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant And/Or The Part-Time Re-employment Grant (PTRG)?
Employers who are legally registered or incorporated in Singapore can approach the Programme Partners – NTUC’s e2i and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) – to apply. Such employers include socieities and non-profit organisations.
|Programme Partners||NTUC’s e2i||SNEF|
|Hotline||6474 0606||6290 7694|
Source: Workfare Singapore
There is no costs to employers to apply. Applications must be made by employers, and cannot be made by third-party consultants or vendors. Companies can apply for either or both grants to receive up to $375,000 in total funding.
To get the grant(s), employers have to
#1 furnish an updated HR policy for:
- the company’s internal retirement and re-employment ages showing the respective increases (Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant)
- The part-time re-employment policy for senior workers (Part-Time Re-employment Grant)
#2 Communicate new policy(ies) to all employees (e.g. internal memo, company website, employee handbook)
#3 Submit completed claim form providing information for all senior workers
#4 Issue addendums to employment contracts documenting policy changes for all senior employees (specific clauses will be provided)
#5 For all other employees, addendums can be standardised without having to be individually addressed nor acknowledged
#6 Submit CPF Form 90 for all senior workers being claimed
#7 Prepare NRIC of senior workers for sighting by Programme Partner (either physically, virtually or via photocopies)
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