In bad times, businesses have to retrench their employers to cut costs and stop losses. This approach is adopted around the world. Singapore also follows this approach.
I hope that our government leaders realise that the impact of retrenchment on Singaporeans is greater, for the following reasons:
1. In the developed countries, there is unemployment benefit for one or two years to help the laid off workers to adjust to the new situation
2. Many Singaporeans have heavy mortgages and debts to pay. After being retrenched, they will be hounded by the lenders.
3. In the less developed countries, they can survive in the countryside with a lower cost of living. This option is not available in Singapore.
Our government leaders have been proud that Singapore does not have an unemployment insurance system, as it stops people from being lazy and living off the work of others. But this is only one side of the coin. The other side said that there are many hardworking people who lost their jobs due to no fault of their own, and now have to suffer the heavy penalty.
If the company is doing well, the retrenched workers are able to get a fairly generous retrenchment benefit that can tide them over for some time. If not, we need some other measures.
In the absence of unemployment benefit, our laid off workers should be allowed to make modest withdrawals from the Central Provident Fund savings, or have access to interest free loan provided by the government. This are just some suggestions.
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