SINGAPORE - More will be done to help businesses redesign workplace processes to cater to older workers, Senior Minister of State for Manpower Amy Khor said on Friday.

The Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers (Tricom) will work with industry associations to help companies manage an ageing workforce and roll out relevant practices, she said in reply to Mr Heng Chee How, Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, who was concerned about businesses coping with older workers.

The committee will also work with industry partners to develop a training curriculum for consultants who can help businesses implement age-friendly programmes, she said.

Dr Khor had earlier told Parliament that the Government was looking into raising the re-employment age from 65 by another two years to 67.

Since January 2012, firms are required by law to offer re-employment to workers aged between 62 and 65 as long as they are healthy and have been satisfactory in their work.

Addressing the concern of Mr David Ong (Jurong GRC) about age discrimination in the workplace, Dr Khor said: "Mr David Ong rightly pointed out that addressing age discrimination is an ongoing journey which requires a mindset change by all members of the society."

She said the Tricom will launch an initiative to "shape positive perceptions of older workers" and "highlight the value they bring and to encourage companies to tap on their experience".

Better for families

The issue of legislating paid parent or eldercare leave will be reviewed, but it may have to wait, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower Hawazi Daipi.

This is because businesses need time to adjust and adapt to the series of enhanced and new leave schemes introduced last year as part of the Marriage and Parenthood Package, as well as the broader effects of the economic restructuring and foreign manpower tightening, he said in Parliament on Friday.

Mr Hawazi was replying to Ms Ellen Lee (Sembawang GRC) and Ms Lee Li Lian (Workers' Party, Punggol East), who both asked for paid parent or eldercare leave to be mandated.

Ms Lee quoted a 2010 Ministry of Manpower (MOM) survey which showed that 10.6 per cent of private companies here had offered paid eldercare leave.

Ms Foo Mee Har (West Coast GRC) called for the Government to adopt flexible work arrangements, a cause she has been advocating for the past few years.

Mr Hawazi agreed with the need to do so, but said the fundamental issue lies in mindsets and attitudes.

Better on safety

There were nine construction workplace deaths in January and last month, prompting Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin to call it "unacceptable".

Mr Hawazi, who described it as a "worrisome trend", said: "There is no question that much more needs to be done in the construction sector."

He outlined the efforts to strengthen workplace safety, which was a concern with Mr Yeo Guat Kwang (Ang Mo Kio GRC) and Mr Heng:

l Ramp up efforts to strengthen the capabilities of Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) professionals and approved training providers to assist employers to identify, anticipate and manage WSH risks.

l Enhance risk management framework to include considerations of personal risk factors on top of workplace safety measures.

l MOM and WSH Council will collaborate with the Ministry of Health and the Health Promotion Board to integrate WSH and well-being for all employees.

l WSH Council will lead the effort to nurture a "Vision Zero", a safety culture and mindset that all work injuries and ill heath are preventable.