Older public servants who are re-employed at the same job grade will no longer have their salaries cut, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said yesterday. "These officers will continue to receive their last-drawn salary," said the minister-in-charge of the civil service, adding that the Government recognises the contributions and experience of its older workers. 

Its move reflects the practice in most companies now, and is a result of the public service's latest review of its guidelines for re-employing workers, he said.

Re-employment contracts may be offered to officers who turn 62 up till age 67. About 1,300 officers were re-employed last year.

During the debate on the Prime Minister's Office budget, Mr Teo also outlined key priorities for the public service.

One of them is driving innovation.

Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung has been appointed to champion public service innovation and will focus on a number of key areas that require close coordination among agencies.

These include the review of regulations to better support innovation and entrepreneurship, and adopting procurement methods that support industry development.

In all, 24 MPs raised questions, asking about a range of public sector plans, from going digital to employing people with disabilities.

Mr Teo said another priority is to develop skills in IT and engineering in officers.

About 10,000 civil servants will be trained in the next four years in areas such as data analytics, in keeping with the country's push to go digital.

Such training will help them come up with policies and deliver better services to people, he said.

Developing public officers is another key priority, said Mr Teo, laying out the human resource policy changes in the pipeline.

From July, public officers and pensioners on older medical schemes who are hospitalised at community hospitals will have up to 28 days' stay covered.

Currently, their medical benefits cover only their stay in restructured hospitals.

The public service will also look at hiring more people with disabilities in meaningful jobs.

In response to Nominated MP Chia Yong Yong, Mr Teo said about 270 disabled people worked in the public service as of the end of last year.

Suitable vacancies are posted on the job portal run by disabilities support agency SG Enable, he added.

Senior public servants are also appointed to champion the hiring and integration of disabled people in their organisations.