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Singapore employers to grant a built-in pay increase for low-wage staff

Ministry of Manpower (MOM) reported yesterday that the Singapore government has accepted the National Wages Council (NWC)’s recommendations for 2017/2018.

In NWC’s prior recommendations (that will cover the period from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018), here are the key issues highlighted: 

  • Wage recommendations for low-wage workers
  • Deepening skills and transforming jobs to enhance productivity and stay future-ready
  • Low-wage workers in outsourced work

Wage recommendations for low-wage workers

The government welcomes the NWC’s recommendations for employers to grant a built-in wage increase of $45 to $60 for staff earning a basic wage of up to $1,200.

In particular, the government supports the NWC’s move to build on the progress made by the five rounds of quantitative wage recommendations to raise the wage threshold and cover more low-wage workers. This reinforces the continued efforts to improve wage outcomes for low-wage workers.

The government notes that the quantum of this year’s range reflects the uneven labour market outlook and business conditions, while encouraging employers to adopt the quantitative guidelines which now cover workers earning between $1,100 and $1,200.

Although all government employees are already earning above $1,200, the government will continue to lead by example as an employer and take reference from the NWC guidelines in its annual wage increment exercise.

Deepening skills and transforming jobs to enhance productivity and stay future-ready

The government also endorses the NWC’s focus on deepening skills and transforming jobs to enhance productivity and stay future-ready.

It said: “To ensure that our businesses capture growth opportunities, the government will work together with employers and unions to press on with implementing the recommendations of the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE), in each sector through the Industry Transformation Maps.”

The government thinks this will help to provide better quality jobs and good wages for Singaporeans.

Additionally, companies should leverage the government’s Transform and Grow initiative to redesign jobs and transform through higher productivity in order to attain sustainable wage growth and stay competitive in the manpower-lean environment.

“As we step up efforts to transform businesses and raise productivity, we must ensure there is adequate support for workers affected by economic restructuring,” it said.

Under the Adapt and Grow and SkillsFuture initiatives, workers can tap on the support to continually refresh their skills and take advantage of opportunities in the future economy.

ALSO READ: SkillsFuture expands Earn and Learn programme to provide more opportunities for Singaporean students

Low-wage workers in outsourced work

The government recognises that some low-wage workers are employed in outsourced work. For the NWC recommendations to be effective, buyers of outsourced services will need to play a part.

The release stated: “The government will continue to take the lead to best source, and strongly encourage service providers to the public sector to adopt NWC recommendations on wage increments for their workers.”

With government procurement amounting to only a fraction of total spending on outsourced services, the government urges employers and service buyers to do the same.

The close cooperation among tripartite partners in the NWC has helped improve employment outcomes for workers while keeping our businesses resilient and competitive.

“With the strong commitment of the tripartite partners, the government is confident that the NWC 2017/2018 Guidelines will be successfully implemented,” it concluded.

 Photo / 123RF

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