NHG the First Healthcare Organisation to Sign MOA with HSEU on the Re-employment of Older Workers
JOINT PRESS RELEASE
19th June 2008
The National Healthcare Group (NHG) is the first healthcare organisation to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union (HSEU) to implement the provisions and recommendations set out in the Tripartite Advisory on the Re-employment of Older Workers 2008.
Ms Diana Chia, General Secretary of HSEU said, “The healthcare sector is a rapidly growing sector. NHG, with more than 14,000 staff employed across its institutions, can make a significant impact in opening up re-employment opportunities for older workers. HSEU is proud to collaborate with NHG in finding practical solutions for our maturing workforce in the healthcare sector. The signing of the MOA between NHG and HSEU is a reflection of our strategic partnership and strong labour-management relations.”
The Advisory, which was released in April this year by the Tripartite Implementation Workgroup, identifies good practices in areas such as pre-retirement planning and re-employment consultation, job arrangements upon re-employment and re-employment contract durations. These practices are aimed at helping companies adopt re-employment of older workers.
Since 2004, NHG has been putting in place re-employment practices to retain and recruit mature workers. This was done to address the increasing manpower demand for skilled healthcare workers.
Today, some of NHG’s hospitals are among the first organisations to attain the National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) highest-level status (level 4) for their adoption of re-employment initiatives for older workers. This has been made possible through the close collaboration between NHG and HSEU, as the Labour Movement pushes ahead to bring more unionised companies on board the re-employment initiatives. As of 31 May 2008, 545 out of the 1000 unionised companies have committed to re-employment, with 4439 older workers having been re-employed. In NTUC’s four-tier framework that tracks and categorises the commitment of unionized companies to re-employment initiatives, level 4 companies are those that pro-actively seek out new initiatives to ensure that their re-employment efforts are sustainable and scalable.
NTUC Deputy Secretary-General Mr Heng Chee How, who leads NTUC’s Re-employment Expert Group, said, “The Labour Movement is making good progress in getting our unionised companies to practise re-employment. As of end May 2008, 545 unionised companies are doing so to varying degrees. I am glad that NHG institutions have set good examples of how to re-employ older and retiring workers in sustainable ways that can be scaled up. These two elements - be sustainable and can be scaled up - are key to success in re-employment." he added.
“Today, 16% of our staff are above 50. In 10 years, they will more than double to 35%. Therefore re-employment of our older staff is very important. Our highly skilled and experienced staff are precious assets.” said Dr Lim Suet Wun, Chief Executive Officer of National Healthcare Group and Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
“Last year, our re-employment rate for mature staff was 86%. With the framework now in place to introduce older worker friendly initiatives targeted at mature staff of all levels, from doctors and administrative professionals, to nurses, technicians and porters, for 2008, we aim to improve if not maintain this rate.” said Ms Olivia Tay, Chief Human Resource Officer, National Healthcare Group.
To address the physiological and psychological needs of a worker as he or she approaches retirement age, and to encourage a forward-looking mindset towards re-employment, NHG will introduce a pre-retirement planning programme. It will be offered to all employees when they reach the age of 59, giving older workers a three year head-start before the retirement age of 62, preparing them for their next performance and re-energising them for a come-back. At the same time, NHG will also be able to tap on skills that have been accumulated, translating the wealth of knowledge and experience to quality patient care.
To facilitate the roll-out and seamless access of the many new initiatives for older workers in all its institutions, NHG will be collaborating with the NTUC, through the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and NTUC Learning Hub (LHub) . Targeting older staff of all levels, e2i and LHub will assist in the implementation of pre-retirement planning, counselling and coaching programmes, as well as the re-deployment of older staff.
Providing the vehicle to deliver all these various initiatives and programmes is NHG’s ENCORE, the organisation’s integrated approach in engaging its older staff through re-employment policies, training, ergonomics and wellness programmes. With the implementation of the refined re-employment policies for example, workers will have the option to continue with their same job or be job-matched with alternate career options within the institution or across the Group. Alternate work arrangements such as flexi-hours or job-sharing are also available.
NHG and HSEU are confident that the combination of all the above efforts will encourage older workers to develop a forward-thinking mindset towards re-employment, re-inventing themselves for new challenges, staying productive and relevant to society.
NHG is proud of and grateful for the contributions of our mature workers. We also value their experience and hence we applaud them and want them back for an encore performance. Our mature workers are our collective wisdom and they will continue to play a significant role in our team and in our future.
ENCORE is targeted at all NHG employees who are above the age of 50, who account for 16% of our total staff strength. However, ENCORE is also extended to our mature employees from age 40. This group constitutes a sizable 19% of our total staff strength. We want to ensure that staff who are charting their career with us are confident that NHG is committed to their long-term well-being and employability.
Pillars of ENCORE:
Re-employment & Employability - Enable, Empower
Equipping through Training – Re-train, Re-invent
Enhancing through Ergonomics – Re-design, Facilitate
Promoting Wellness - Able, Active
The NHG Pledge on Re-employment Practices For Mature Workers
The National Healthcare Group pledges to provide an inclusive environment where our mature workers can continue to work beyond retirement, and remain economically productive.
We are committed to the well-being of our mature workers and will adopt good practices in the areas of re-employment, training, ergonomics and wellness.
We will continue to implement programmes to help them stay relevant so that they can lead fulfilling lives in their golden years.
NTUC’s Four-Tier Framework
In NTUC, two teams have been set up for the purpose of pushing the Labour Movement’s efforts in the re-employment of older workers – the Re-employment Expert Group (REG) and the Raising Effective Retirement Age Team (RERA)
REG and RERA have worked out a four-tier framework to track and categorise the level of commitment of companies to re-employment.
Level 1 refers to companies that are already re-employing older workers, but on an ad-hoc basis. Level 2 refers to companies that are already re-employing older workers and have a re-employment clause in their Collective Agreement or MOU with the unions. Level 3 refers to companies that have a formalised HR policy on re-employment. Level 4 refers to companies that are pro-actively seeking out new initiatives to ensure that their re-employment efforts are sustainable and scalable.
Tripartite Advisory Recommendations and NHG Practices