In a bid to enhance Singapore's economic competitiveness, the government has accepted the recommendations of the National Wages Council (NWC) for the year 2015/2016.

These recommendations include helping low-wage workers improve their incomes and productivity levels.

"The government supports the NWC’s recommendation for employers to grant a built-in wage increase of at least $60 for workers earning a basic monthly salary of up to $1,100," a press release from the Ministry of Manpower stated.

"This makes it clear that there should be continued efforts to improve wage outcomes for low-wage workers."

However, NWC also recommended that real wage increases should be in line with productivity growth over the long-term.

The government accepted that, and added that employers should share productivity gains fairly with workers and in a sustainable manner.

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"The government urges employers, unions and workers to work together towards this goal."

Another recommendation supported by the government was that of local employers and unions to work towards restructuring employer medical benefits to portable medical benefits, to make medical expenses more cost effective.

This is especially in light of the MediShield Life programme, which will provide all employees who are Singapore citizens and permanent residents with the basic portable layer of healthcare insurance from the end of this year.

"The government also recognises that for the NWC recommendations to be effective, buyers of outsourced services will also need to play a part," the release stated.

It affirmed that the government will lead by example, both as an employer and also as a service buyer.

"It will continue to take reference from the NWC guidelines in its annual wage adjustment exercise, and strongly encourage service suppliers to the public sector to adopt NWC recommendations on wage increments for their workers."

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