The Tripartite Cluster for Landscape Industry (TCL) today announced that the Singapore Government has accepted its recommended enhancements (made in November 2018) to the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for the landscape maintenance sub-sector.

According to a media release by TCL, this includes a mandatory PWM Bonus to be paid annually to eligible resident landscape maintenance employees which will take effect from 1 January 2020. This PWM Bonus comes under the Landscape Company Register (LCR) and will be administered by the National Parks Board.

An estimated 3,000 resident landscape maintenance employees stand to benefit from this new regulation.

Apart from helping to uplift the total income of workers, the bonus will serve as an attraction and retention tool for employers. "In turn, employers would be more likely to invest in workers’ training to raise productivity. In this aspect, the PWM Bonus is not tied to workers’ performance," the media release said.

NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Zainal Sapari, who is also Chairman of the TCL, said: “Following the earlier PWM recommendations made by the TCL, the implementation of a PWM Bonus is another positive step towards uplifting the wages and work prospects of our landscape maintenance employees. Importantly, all stakeholders stand to benefit – workers from better wages and career progression; service providers from better staff retention as well as a more motivated and productive workforce; and service buyers from better service outcomes.”

How will the PWM Bonus be implemented?

From 1 January 2020, the PWM Bonus will be payable to Singapore Citizen and Permanent Resident landscape maintenance employees who have worked for the same employer for at least 12 months.This condition is waived for circumstances beyond the workers’ control, such as if there is a change of service provider.

Part-time landscape maintenance employees are also eligible, with the PWM Bonus to be calculated on a pro-rated basis.

The total PWM Bonus paid to a worker in a given year must be at least two weeks of basic monthly salary. This must be reflected in the salary slip and is subject to prevailing CPF contribution rates by both employer and employee.

The PWM Bonus must be paid at least once a year, but not more than twice a year.

The TCL recognises that some landscape companies may already provide some form of variable bonuses to their workers. An employer would be deemed to have complied with the PWM Bonus requirements as long as the total sum of such bonuses paid in a year amounts to no less than the stipulated two weeks of the worker’s basic monthly salary.

In the event of a discontinuation of employment, landscape companies must ensure that all outstanding PWM Bonuses are paid to eligible employees by the final day of the employee’s employment.

Summary of 8 scenarios and whether PWM Bonus is payable

When there is a change of service provider (this is not within the worker’s control)

  • If the worker declines re-deployment and resigns.
    • PWM bonus is payable.
  • If the employer is unable to redeploy worker and terminates worker
    • PWM bonus is payable.
  • If the worker stays with employer and gets redeployed (worker remains an employee of the company).
    • PWM bonus is payable.

For part-time workers.

  • PWM bonus is payable.

If the worker retires or is medically boarded out.

  • PWM bonus is payable.

During contract period if: 

  • A worker resigns on their own accord
    • PWM bonus is not payable.*
  • A worker gets terminated due to misconduct
    • PWM bonus is not payable.*
  • A worker is terminated by employer due to circumstances not within the worker’s control and not related to performance/conduct (e.g. company closure)
    • PWM bonus is payable.

* Note: Any PWM Bonus already made to the worker prior to the termination date must not be clawed back, as long as the worker had met the length of service eligibility as at the company’s cut-off date for the last PWM Bonus computation.

Annual increment to PWM wage levels

The recommendations include the implementation of the minimum annual increment of 3 (subject to review) to the PWM wage levels from 1 July each year, from 2023 to 2025 across all landscape maintenance PWM job levels. This aligns with the 1 July implementation date of the yearly adjustments to PWM wage levels from 2020 to 2022.

To create a win-win outcome for all stakeholders, the TCL recommends that service providers renegotiate existing contracts with their service buyers to take into account both the new PWM wages and PWM Bonus for landscape maintenance employees.

It added that service buyers are discouraged from extending existing contracts unless they are prepared to vary contract prices to take into account the new PWM wage schedules going forward.