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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Best Employers

Housing and Development Board

Winner: 2009 AARP International Innovative Employer Award

Industry: Public Sector
Location: Singapore
Website: hdb.gov.sg

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies

The Housing and Development Board’s mature staff benefits from flexible-work arrangements and a re-employment policy allowing people to stay at work past the statutory retirement age of 62. The Board’s health and wellness promotion program also offers an Annual Targeted Health-Intervention Program designed to help older workers take preventative care in managing their health.

Other Policies and Practices

Lifelong Learning and Training: The Housing and Development Board offers a wide variety of training opportunities and establishes individual learning plans for each employee. Training opportunities that particularly benefit older workers include the following: a continuing-education program; undergraduate and postgraduate programs; a self-directed learning path; a Refresher-Orientation Program (“HDB Re-O”); and courses on managing multi-generational teams.

The agency regularly reviews work designs and conducts retraining to help mature staff members keep pace with changes and challenges arising from computerization, process-engineering, and other technological advances.

Flexible Work Arrangements: The Housing and Development Board offers a variety of flexible-work arrangements, including flex-hours, part-time employment, and telecommuting options. These arrangements are of particular benefit to older employees with caregiving responsibilities. Other work-life initiatives benefiting older workers are the company’s flexible-benefits scheme, which gives $400 a year to each employee for health and other expenses, an emergency-leave policy, unrecorded time off for family and personal matters, and 12 days of unrecorded study and/or examination leave for employees pursuing higher qualifications and other educational training.

Health Promotion & Protection: The Board offers a wide variety of health and wellness programs, including subsidized, on-site health screenings for staff, an Annual Targeted Health-Intervention Program to help mature staff take preventative care in managing their health, an hour off weekly for employees to exercise during office hours, and an employee assistance program offering preventative and early-intervention counseling to help employees heighten their mental resilience to cope with work-life changes. Employees also enjoy basic medical benefits.

Diversity Promotion: Under the Board’s re-employment framework, the agency considers rehiring retired staff members with good performance records and no medical issues. This program offers yearly contracts that retirees can renew until age 65. Retired employees can be re-employed in the same jobs, with modifications to their previous jobs, or in a different job with full-time or flexible-work arrangements. To prepare employees for retirement, the company holds retirement-planning classes at least one year before the workers are due to retire. The Board and the Staff Union also provide assistance in identifying alternative-employment opportunities in the event that the Board is unable to offer re-employment.

Recruitment: Through collaboration with the Northwest Community Development Council (CDC) and NTUC Women’s Development Secretariat, the Board is able to tap the pools of experienced, mature workers and female job seekers. During recent recruitment drives, the Housing and Development Board offered employment to 80 percent of all age-50+ job applicants. … Back to Article

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