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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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PUB Singapore

Winner: 2010 AARP International Innovative Employer Award

PUB Singapore

Winning Year: 2010
Industry: Utilities
Location: Singapore
URL: www.pub.gov.sg
Employees: 3,095; Percentage over 50: 45.4%

Highlights of 2010 Winning Strategies

PUB offers extensive flexible work options to its employees, including part-time employment and telecommuting. Moreover, PUB employees benefit from three paid days of leave a year to care for a family member. Employees approaching the statutory retirement age of 62 receive individual pre-retirement consulting sessions and are re-employed whenever possible. Staff may be re-employed in the same position or trained for re-deployment in a different, less physically straining position. PUB's health promotion efforts include bone health workshops, customized health checks for older workers, and a Work-Life Balance Ambassador program.

Additional policies and practices:

Flexible Work Arrangements: PUB offers part-time work options to all officers. Officers can create a work schedule with their supervisor that allows them to maintain their family responsibilities.

PUB also offers flexible working hours. Officers can choose to arrive between 7 AM and 9 AM and to leave accordingly. These flexible hours are particularly beneficial to older workers, many of whom prefer to start work earlier than their younger cohorts. Telecommuting is also a possibility for certain officers.

Several forms of paid leave are offered to help attract and motivate employees. For employees who have exhausted their vacation time, they may take up to an additional three days per year to care for their spouse or parents. Three working days may also be used to take unrecorded examination leave. Twelve days may be taken if the examination is of direct value to PUB. Employees are also granted a day of leave for their birthday.

Health Promotion and Protection: PUB addresses four elements that make up overall well-being, social well-being, physical well-being, economic well-being and mental well-being. To address these elements, PUB created the Staff Well-Being Committee (SWBC). The SWBC annually reviews all plans, programs and activities with input from PUB's employee union and Recreation Club. PUB also appointed a Work-Life Ambassador in 2008 to look into the work-life balance of all PUB staff. The SWBC has several programs geared specifically to older workers including discussions on bone health and menopause.

PUB conducts annual health screenings and fitness tests to identify health risks and fitness levels, and, if necessary, creates individualized intervention plans. Specialty exams and screenings are extended to older employees or employees working in hazardous environments.

Since 1975, PUB has maintained an in-house recreational club, dedicated to promoting recreation and well-being activities for staff. Fitness centers are also located at the largest PUB sites. If there is no on-site fitness center, employees can claim reimbursement for gym memberships, sports equipment, health screenings, and holiday expenses taken to enhance personal well-being.

To preserve economic well-being, PUB encourages all employees to sign up for Public Officers/Tripartite Insurance schemes to ensure complete coverage. The Tripartite Insurance Scheme is a subsidized insurance plan in which employees pay one-third of the premium. Roughly 75% of union members are already covered under this insurance plan.

To offset the financial challenges of an unexpected illness, PUB will continue to give an employee one month's salary for every year worked.

PUB has won numerous awards for its effort in health promotion and protection, and for constructing a safe work environment. PUB consistently wins the Ministry of Manpower's safety award, as well as the Singapore HEALTH Award, and the Annual Safety and Health Performance Award.

Diversity Promotion: One of PUB's key sources of recruitment is the re-employment of employees who have reached the statutory retirement age of 62. Re-hired employees may continue in the same job they held prior to retirement, or may be hired for a new position. In 2009, PUB created a new committee to oversee their-employment of older workers.

One year prior to reaching the retirement age, PUB supervisors sit down with officers approaching 62 to discuss their re-employment options. The consultations cover a wide-variety of re-employment or retirement options, so officers can choose the option most suited to their lifestyle.

PUB's re-employment of retired workers is extremely successful. PUB re-employs an average of 118 officers annually, and the average re-employment rate is 65.3%.

Recruitment: PUB's recruitment strategy focuses on skill sets and personal attributes. The ability to perform the job, regardless of age, is key. About 45% of PUB's staff is 50 years of age or older, some of whom started their career with PUB in their fifties.

In 2007, PUB signed the Employer's Pledge promising to endorse the five key principles of fair employment. PUB has promised to recruit and select employees on the basis of merit, regardless of age, race, gender, religion or family status; treat employees fairly and with respect; provide employees with equal opportunities for training and development; reward employees fairly based on ability and performance; and abide by labor laws and adopt Tripartite Guidelines that promote fair employment practices.

Miscellaneous: PUB takes a forward looking approach to the employability of older workers. In this regard, PUB has created new roles and responsibilities to allow employees to move to lighter job functions.

PUB regularly looks for ways to adjust and re-structure job functions so it can remain an age-friendly workplace.

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