Clearing tables was once very taxing for Mr Raymond Ong.

He had to make repeated trips to the kitchen because balancing a mound of trays was a tall order.

But since he joined restaurant Lawry's The Prime Rib two months ago, the 67-year-old has had a light trolley to collect dishes and cutlery.

"It makes it easier for me to work, which I want to keep doing as long as I am healthy, so that I am not a burden on my family," he said.

Mr Ong is the oldest of Lawry's 13 mature workers aged 50 and older, who form one-fifth of its staff. In 2013, it had just three such workers.

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say commended Lawry's for being an "early adopter" of job redesign for older workers, ahead of legislation to raise the re-employment age from 65 to 67 in July next year.

Speaking to reporters after a visit to the restaurant yesterday, he said: "We are encouraged that more and more companies are, like Lawry's, aware of the importance, the need to make workplaces age-friendly."

But the awareness is not widespread enough, prompting Mr Lim to announcethe WorkPro scheme will be enhanced to better support job redesign for mature workers.

Starting from July this year, a company can apply for up to $300,000 in grants to fund job redesign projects targeted at workers aged 50 and older. The amount is twice the funding available previously.

Mr Lim said adopting better ways need not be grand measures. Just as valuable are "small ideas that mean a lot to mature workers".

Lawry's director Kevin Koh said the restaurant hopes to tap the enhanced WorkPro Job Redesign Grant to improve its e-menu system that allows its waiters and kitchen staff to use iPads to take and fulfil customers' orders.

The trial project has raised efficiency by 30 per cent, he estimated, and there are plans to improve it further to include age-friendly elements, such as a zoom function on the mobile devices for those who do not see too well.

Mr Koh, 45, said Lawry's struggled to fill vacancies in the past: "With this labour shortage, we realised we needed to tap these mature workers."

To make the work less physically strenuous on older employees, the restaurant has automated processes such as knife sharpening and dishwashing. Attendance is also taken with a fingerprint detector, to spare workers the need to remember to take their ID cards to work.

Lawry's offers flexible work schedules and has appointed younger staff as Silver Work Mentors, whom older workers can turn to for help.

Cook Patricia Leong, 60, said she appreciates the company for letting her take two weeks off during the Dragon Boat Festival to make some money fulfilling orders for dumplings from family and friends.

Labour MP Patrick Tay, NTUC's assistant secretary-general, gave a "loud call-out" to firms to redesign jobs for the aging workforce. His Facebook post follows yesterday's announcements of bigger grants for firms to redesign jobs, and recommendations for bosses to, among other things, give higher payouts to workers they cannot re-employ.

Said Mr Tay: "Workers (in particular low-wage workers) should not have their pay reduced when re-employed beyond 62, especially if they are still doing the same job with the same load."

He added: "Singapore as a society should also be more receptive and accepting of older workers."