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.[Update]: Applications for the SWEAG and PTRG have closed as of 31 December 2022. However, the Ministry of Manpower has launched a new Part Time Re-Employment Grant that is available for applications from 2023 till 2025.
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: 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 New Part-Time Re-employment Grant (PTRG)?
The new Part-Time Re-employment Grant provides funding of up to $125,000 to employers who are willing to commit to offering part-time re-employment opportunities to eligible senior workers who request them, including other flexible work arrangements (FWAs) and structured career planning. This is meant for employers to provide more flexible work options to attract and retain 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 68).
Funding of $2,500 per senior worker (aged 60 & above) will be provided. Applications for companies open from 1 April 2023.
To calculate how much new 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 and have not claimed for PTRG before can approach the appointed Programme Partner – Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) – to apply. Such employers include societies and non-profit organisations.
There are no costs for employers to apply. Applications must be made by employers and cannot be made by third-party consultants or vendors. Companies can apply for the new PTRG grant to receive up to $125,000 in total funding.
To get the grant(s), employers have to
#1 provide part-time re-employment opportunities to eligible senior workers who request for it
#2 Adopt Tripartite Standard on Age-Friendly Workplace Practices
#3 Adopt Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs)
#4 Offer FWAs to employees as part of HR policy
#5 Implement SCP for mature and senior workers aged 45 and above as part of HR policy
#6 Send one senior management and one HR partner each to attend one session of a fully-funded SCP workshop for senior management and HR practitioners, respectively, conducted by SNEF
This article was first published on 15 January 2021 and has been updated with the latest information.
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