Thursday, February 04, 2010

Need for a minimum wage policy

MY HUSBAND is 50 this year. We had a comfortable life until he was retrenched a few years ago. He has been trying to get a job as a driver for the past two years, but lacks the experience.

We have two teenage children and my husband's current job in the security sector does not pay enough.
My husband is willing to learn and similarly, employers must be willing to offer opportunities and reasonable salaries. My husband may be 50, but he still has a lot of good years left in him and is able to contribute to society.

Mary Wee (Mrs)
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Anonymous said...


The fact of the matter is middle age people regardless of qualification are having a tough time looking for a job. It has been going on for a while. The Govt knows about it but they continue to increase foreign workers. Why should an employer employ a older person who has a higher health risk and cost compared to a young foreign worker who has less health issue, cheaper and faster?

Why continue to look for job when it can only be very depressing if you do not have a sought after skill. The Govt tag line is reskill, retrain, don't ask for too much. This is easy coming from a person who earns millions but has no answer for the heartlander's unable to be employed situation.

I am one of them. I have already given up looking for a job. Only thing left is to start some business with friends or do day trading. No use complaining. Just like MAS handle the Minibond saga, the Govt cannot help. They only know how to give reasons for things they want to do like raising their salary....

Anonymous said...

REX comments as follows,
I think the problem is that people like "anonymous" 5.19 pm, will be auto excluded from the unemployment statistics after a period of 6 months according to the official method of calculating unemployment. so actually when recently the govt announced that the unemployment rate is now a healthy 3%, is it really healthy? They use these statistics and said that they solved the problem very well, no doubt hinting that they deserve to have another pay rise.

There could be a 100,000 people like anon.5.19 and Mrs Wee;s husband floating around, and piling up with every batch of students graduating and army people ORD. I don't trust statistics released by govt anymore, there are many hidden traps.


Anonymous said...

It is always sad to read about real life stories like this.

I very much wish that there is some clever idea or smart advice which I can give which will help people out.

Unfortunately, the sad and bitter truth is that there is probably not very much which can be done.

I would very much advise against putting faith in things like "re-training" or "start your own business". While it is possible to succeed, the chances of success are not high if your husband is already 50 and has no special skills or experience. Putting faith in "re-training" or "start your own business" is therefore almost like believing you will strike Toto this weekend and all your problems will be solved. While possilble, it is not likely.

The one thing I think which can be done would be to invest in your children so that they can have a better life.

To do this, you might want to consider extreme actions like selling your overpriced HDB flat (if you have 1) and moving perhaps to stay in JB. Malaysia has a silver hair program which welcomes older Singaporeans to become PRs in Malaysia. The proceeds from the HDB flat should be sufficent to allow you to meet the minimum deposit criteria and buy a modest place to live. For what is leftover, this can supplement your husband's income so that you can see your children through university.

The future will be hard and life will not be "comfortable". But at least there is hope if the form of a better life for your children.

The predicament of people like Mary are due largely to policy failures over last 5 to 10 years. Even if make a u-turn now, any improvements will be too late to make a meaningful difference.

Anonymous said...

Mrs Wee,

The only way out is to migrate if the govt is not helpful.

Sell your property, give up your citizenship, cash out all your CPF $$$.

Anonymous said...

But where can Mrs wee migrate too.
I think the problem is not that great, most older people are employed. Those who cannot find jobs may have an attitude problem that makes them difficult to employ. We should not always blame potential employers. In a recession there will always be unemployment.

Anonymous said...

Aust or NZ will welcome Mrs Wee with open arms.

The problem here is no unemployment benefit from the govt.

So who take care of the unemployed Mr Wee? Nobody except Mrs Wee, that's why she is so stress up now.

She and her husband must be regretting now for voting in the "1st class" govt GE after GE but never take care of them when they get old and need help from the govt?

Anonymous said...

If your husband willing to learn, why not consider a second career as a life insurance agent? It is a rewarding career and it helps people.

If your husband works hard, he would be able to support your teenage children to university. The only criteria is to have 4 O Level passes and clear 3 simple papers.

Anonymous said...

also, be careful if you want to migrate, do it before 55 years old.

when you reach 55, a major part of your CPF will be used to pay for the CPF Life premium, which means the money does not belong to you anymore.

If you go, you'll lose that money.

Anonymous said...

CPF withdrawal, CPF SA transfer to RA at 55, CPF minimum sum, CPF annuity...

The CPF rules keep changing and basically my impression is more CPF money is stuck in the account. 2 weeks, out of curiousity, I pop in to CPF office and the customer service was very helpful. My suggestion is to occasionally pop in and learn from them what are the spiderweb all about. It is free financial education on your money in CPF. Once you learnt it, then you can make more sound decision. I will keep in mind to checkout what happen if a person migrate.

Basically, I still like the idea of managing my own money while I think the hidden agenda of having 2.5% and 4% interest on OA, SA and medisave from the Govt is to cool off the frustration of citizens not happy about having so much money in CPF especially when they are out of job or need money urgently to survive.

Just my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Rex comments as follows,

Migration is an option for those with connections or those with high skill jobs. Most countries welcome skilled labour to contribute to their countries and also rich people of course. If a person has neither, than he/she can rely on connections such as relatives or friends who might be able to work out something.

I beleive that for the majority of singaporeans, migration is not an option. Besides, do you really want to die in a foreign land?

Next, i am wondering whether a pseudo-migration plan may work. Pretend to migrate, draw out all the cpf money. Now you have money. Come back again a year later as a PR, singaproe welcomes PR!! Re-incarnated! smart?


Anonymous said...

Mrs Wee's problem is a symptom of an underlying trend throughout the whole world.

"Regular" jobs are disappearing and are not coming back.

Mrs Wee's fate will be the fate of most of our children in the future. Mrs wee's husband got hit when he turned 50. Our children will be hit when they turn 40.

So don't count on your children to help you in your old age.

I have a 11 year old child. And I'm thinking very hard about how to secure my family's financial future over the next 30 years.

My conclusions thus far are:

a)The number of jobs are shrinking.
b) The remaining jobs will keep getting re-designed so that you will be obsolete sooner or later.

c) There will be no help from a merciless government or society.

d) The reasons for (a),(b)and(c) are not important. Focus instead on a solution that is appropriate for your own family circumstances.

Anonymous said...

My grandparents both born in southern China but both died in a "foreign land" - S'pore.

If our govt does not want to take care of us when we are old and weak, even if we die here make any difference? I rather die in a foreign land with dignity.

Anonymous said...

to anonymous 10.37 from REX\

how do you die with dignity exactly?
it means being given a proper due respect on your deathbed and also after your last breath. i suppose.

how do you get that in a foreign land? all your relativees and friends are in Singapore, presumably. (unless you have them already over in the other country). Suppose you have a spouse. then you die first, the spouse will give you the dignity, in the foreign land. But what about the spouse, who will give him/her the dignity when his/her time comes? there is no end unless one intends to firmly plant one's entire family and relatives forever in the foreign land. But is this happening at all, some of the relatives may not like staying in the foreign land in the first place.

So if you could answer the question of whether there is soemone to claim your body, or your spouse's body at the mortuary in the foreign land, and whether you will have a nice burial with friends and relaives to send you off, then i suppose that it is quite acceptable to migrate anywhere.

I don't think it;s got anything to do with the Government whetther PAP or not, when we say we want to "die in dignity".


singgie said...

Change our attitudes and the world changes.

There is only one home, our home called Singapore. We deal with the problems within our home. Leaving our home may give a sense of freedom, but other issues will arise and eventually we come home.

Our parents will pass on. The Government is for us to choose, unlike our parents.
If we have chosen a lemon, so be it. Deal with it.
Since we are unemployed, and we are very free, why not organise with like minded people?

There is always a solution. The question is: do we agree with the solution?

Deal with the problems by changing our attitudes... there will be clarity.

Why? said...

If only the Government and leaders in Singapore were to be precise and be very pointed about what Singapore is all about and what anyone living here should expect.

They continue to be vague and oblique.. in the guise of being diplomatic.

I would accept the situation much better if they were to explain in simple language, why import so many foreigners? why certain jobs are not being filled?
If these jobs are "undesirable" then why are they there in the first place? What about redesigning the job? what about encouraging innovation?

What did you, as my leader, do?

Why has pay remained stagnant?
Why are jobs in the financial sector so well paid?

Do not tell me about supply and demand.. You as my leader controlled the demand and supply.

Tell me the truth.

Anonymous said...

I am 43 and I faced the same problem when searching for a job. I have 2 school-going kids to support. Hubby's pay alone is not enough as he is underpaid for the responsibility he carries. I have a skill to offer, 2 decades of experience but no degree. Employers prefer younger candidates with a degree even though I've proven that I can do the work well(past records), definitely much better than a degree holder without the years of experience. Our government urged women to return to the workforce but will employers hire us? Our govt dept & stat boards are the first ones to reject applicants of my profile!

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