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Thursday January 24th 2019

Crossing 50: Worries of a Working Heartlander (ST Forum 21 Oct)

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Crossing 50: Worries of a working heartlander

I REACHED 50 years of age recently. Crossing the half-century hurdle creates fresh hurdles.

At this age, heartlanders like me are neither in the younger worker age group nor in the senior worker group – neither here nor there.

I worry about holding on to my job, raising and educating my children and keeping my home secure until all mortgages are paid off. Unremitting price hikes for virtually all basic necessities like food, transport and utilities, as well as the goods and services tax hike, also worry me.

I appreciate the Government’s effort in working with various organisations, like the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Workforce Development Agency (WDA), to keep older workers like me employed. It comforts me that there are avenues to get help and enable older workers to stay employed.

One frustrating concern is the cut in employers’ Central Provident Fund (CPF) contribution rate that is triggered once one turns 50.

The cut is steep – from 14.5 per cent to 10.5 per cent – and affects older Singaporeans like me drastically.

Not only must I still pay off my debt to the Housing Board for my mortgaged flat on diminished income, but the price hikes are also eating into the rest of my salary.

The Government should reconsider the cut in employers’ CPF contribution rates for workers over 50. This, together with the labour movement’s call to end the practice of pay cuts once a worker reaches 60 years of age, will help older workers like me and encourage the culture of working longer.

Kumar Pillay Thangavalu

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