Uniformed officers are exempted from Retirement and Re-employment Act, but review will be completed in ‘next several months’, says MHA

Following Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s announcement on Sunday (18 August) that by 2030, the country will be raising the retirement and re-employment age to 65 and 70, respectively, the Ministry of Home Affairs told CNA on Tuesday (20 August) that uniformed officers are exempted from this because of the “stringent demands of uniformed jobs”.

It added that these demands include a high fitness level, agility and capability to endure physical strain in potential life-threatening and unforeseeable environments.

Currently, the retirement age for these uniformed individuals stands at 55 years old.

However, MHA told its officers that a review will be conducted to look into the retirement age for uniformed officers and the results will be out “in the next several months”.

“MHA periodically reviews the retirement age for Home Affairs uniformed officers to ensure that we are able to meet the manpower requirements of the Home Team, taking into consideration changes in life expectancy and years of healthy living, as well as the ability and desire of our officers to work longer,” the ministry explained.

In 2013, MHA increased the retirement age of junior officers under the Home Affairs uniformed services from 50 to 55, exactly the same as senior officers.

MHA noted, “The Home Team also re-employs uniformed officers, subject to performance, conduct and fitness criteria. We will continue to offer re-employment to as many officers as possible, subject to organisational needs”.

On the other hand, MHA also informed that 3,800 civilian officers in the Home Team are subjected to the Retirement and Re-employment Act. It added that it will work with the Public Service Division (PSD) to gradually up their retirement and re-employment ages.

This news was raised after the PSD said on Monday that it will increase the retirement and re-employment ages for its officers by a year to 63 and 68, respectively, in July 2021.

‘Relevant’ retirement age in the SAF

CNA reported that the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) noted that the military retirement ages “remain relevant today”.

“As a military with physical demands required to fulfil its mission, the Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF) retirement ages for military personnel range from 50 for officers, up to 55 for warrant officers and specialists, and up to 60 years old for military experts,” MINDEF said.

It added, “These military retirement ages remain relevant today. They balance the time required to acquire ground experience and expertise against the physical demands of a military career and the SAF’s operational considerations.”

If that is not all, both SAF and MINDEF regularly review the retirement ages in order to “ensure that the SAF’s operational requirements are met”.

In a Parliamentary reply in January, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen stressed that officers and other ranks of personnel in the SAF do not follow the retirement age of commercial companies and civilian originations, emphasising that the SAF is a military with physical demands.

“However, the shorter career spans within the SAF is made up by higher remuneration packages compared to equivalent civilian jobs. In addition, the SAF has specific programmes to prepare personnel for their second careers. Eighty per cent secure jobs within six months of retiring from the SAF,” he explained.

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