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In Parliament: Ministries Respond to Labour MPs

Topics raised in Parliament include mature-worker employment, workplace safety and workers’ welfare.
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By Ian Tan Hanhonn 13 Jan 2022
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Various ministries addressed concerns raised on 10-12 January 2022 by Labour Members of Parliament (LMPs) in Parliament.

Mature-worker employment, workplace safety and the welfare of frontline workers were some of the issues raised by the labour representatives.

Re-employment of Mature Workers

According to Manpower (MOM) Minister Tan See Leng, over 90 per cent of eligible resident employees who wished to continue working were offered re-employment when they reached 62 years of age.

The majority of the re-employed workers continued working the same role either on their existing contracts without a specific end date or a shortened renewable contract.

Dr Tan was responding to NTUC Vice-President Abdul Samad Abdul Wahab’s parliamentary question on the proportion of workers offered re-employment when turning 62 over the last five years, and the sectors unlikely to re-employ mature workers.

For those who were re-employed in the same job, more than 95 per cent did not experience any reduction to their basic wage and benefits, according to MOM.

The highest number of workers who were not offered re-employment were in the financial and insurance services, information and communications, and manufacturing sectors, though Dr Tan did not elaborate on the numbers.

Workplace Fatalities

There is little evidence to show that long working hours or fatigue has been a major contributor to workplace fatalities over the last five years, said Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang.

Ms Gan was responding to a query raised by NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Melvin Yong on 11 January 2022 regarding the correlation between fatigue and workplace deaths.

She said: “In the past five years, our investigators had uncovered an average of five fatal cases per year, or 12 per cent of the total fatalities, where excessive work hours were suspected. Thus far, investigations have shown no evidence to link long working hours or fatigue to any fatal workplace accidents.”

From 2017 to the first half of 2021, there were total of 175 workplace fatalities in Singapore.

Financial Support for P2P Drivers

The Government currently has no plans to provide additional support to help point-to-point (P2P) vehicle drivers defray the higher cost of fuel. Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor attributed the higher cost of fuel to the result of market forces, global supply and demand factors.

Dr Khor was responding to NTUC Women and Family Director Yeo Wan Ling regarding the assistance P2P workers will receive as the industry faces a slow start to passenger recovery.

Ms Yeo also asked if the Government and Public Transport Council (PTC) will be looking at revising the flag down fares of fare structures for both the taxi and private hire services given the slow recovery. In response, Dr Khor said that the Government no longer regulates fares and has not done so since 1998.

“We will continue to monitor the P2P sector and the demand for such services to ensure that drivers are coping well in this challenging period,” added Dr Khor.

COVID-19 Healthcare Award

Health Minister Ong Ye Kang assured the House that outsourced workers will be given the recognition for their role in the fight against COVID-19.

The workers include those who were directly contracted by public healthcare institutions (PHIs) and publicly funded community care organisations (CCO).

Mr Ong cited the COVID-19 Healthcare Award (CHA) announced on 5 November 2021. He said that the award was conceived to ensure that outsourced workers working on the premises of such healthcare institutions were recognised for their contributions.

The health minister was responding to Mr Samad’s parliamentary question regarding the Government’s plan to show their support to the outsourced workers in the sector.

“MOH is working with the PHIs and CCOs on the amount, eligibility criteria and implementation details, and the employers of these outsourced staff will be informed in due course,” said Mr Ong