SINGAPORE – Preliminary data showed that 5,280 Singapore citizens were retrenched between January and June this year, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo told Parliament on Friday (Sept 4).
Responding to questions by Workers’ Party MP He Ting Ru (Sengkang), Mrs Teo added that about 11,000 citizens were placed on unpaid leave compared with 33,000 non-citizens in the same period.
Ms He also asked about Singaporeans who have had their pay cut by more than half since the start of circuit-breaker measures.
In response, Mrs Teo said that employees who had their pay reduced by more than half formed a “small minority” as of Aug 20.
Employers with more than 10 staff are required to notify the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) within one week of implementing cost-saving measures, such as shorter work hours or no-pay leave, that result in a more than 25 per cent cut in gross monthly salary for local employees or basic monthly salary for foreign employees since April 6.
Mrs Teo said: “We are not able to provide the breakdown between Singapore citizens and permanent residents as the distinction was not made in the notification by employers.”
PAP MP Ng Ling Ling (Ang Mo Kio) asked about the number of unemployed workers who are above 50, and the average time it takes for them to be employed again.
Mrs Teo said the ministry estimates there to be 90,500 unemployed residents – Singaporeans and permanent residents – in June this year, an increase of 16,600 from December last year.
She pointed out that the proportion of those unemployed aged 50 and over has been stable, at one in three workers. In comparison, about one in four persons in the resident workforce is aged 50 and over, she added.
Mrs Teo said: “Based on the latest available data on the duration of unemployment, the median period for residents aged 50 and over was 12 weeks. This had been broadly stable for a number of years.”
But Mrs Teo expects “the duration to rise in times of economic downturns, although the extent remains to be seen”.
So far, more than 95,000 positions – jobs, traineeship and attachment opportunities – have been created , she said.
They comprise 65,000 job opportunities, close to 20,000 company-hosted traineeships, attachments or training places and more than 10,000 opportunities under the SGUnited skills programme.
The ministry has helped to place over 25,000 job seekers into jobs, traineeships and training places.
Mrs Teo noted that 24,000 across various age groups had been placed into new jobs. About half are in the public sector, with about 25 per cent in the modern services and lifestyle sectors, she added.
“The salary range of jobs can vary, depending on the sector and the specific job role that an individual takes up,” Mrs Teo said.
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