The Government has been championing fairness in the workplace and enabling inclusive growth for workers.
Over the years, we have been supporting our lower-wage workers through sustainable wage increases and targeted training, and enhancing the employability and employment of persons with disabilities.
The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) is a scheme that has served us well in uplifting the wages of lower-wage workers. Over 78,000 workers in the cleaning, security and landscaping sectors have benefitted by having clear career progression pathways to progress in their jobs and earn higher wages, up to 51 per cent wage increase in sectors such as Security since the introduction of PWM.
In addition to the current sectors, we will also form a new lift and escalator tripartite cluster to include escalator technicians under a combined PWM. We expect 1,300 resident lift and escalator maintenance workers to benefit from this move.
Moving forward, the Government plans to study how we can expand mandatory PWM to new sectors. For sectors that we are unable to do so, we will explore a new approach – make it voluntary for companies and involve the community. For example, consumers can support companies with progressive practices. Such companies will then be more compelled to retain talented staff.
During the Committee of Supply debate, I also shared that the Government will launch a new Workfare Skills Support (WSS) scheme in July this year to provide more training support for lower-wage workers.
Replacing the Workfare Training Support Scheme, the new scheme will provide more incentives for workers who complete training leading to full qualifications under the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications, and Academic Continuing Education and Training Qualifications systems.
It is equally important to promote a culture of care and respect for our workers. The Government launched WorkCare initiative last year to provide rest areas for outsourced workers such as cleaners. All public agencies and the People’s Action Party town councils have come on board. We will be launching a new Workcare Grant later this year to accelerate the provision of rest areas in other workplaces.
We also want to provide greater support for persons with disabilities (PwD) to be employed in as many sectors as possible. It is heartening to note that more employers are hiring PwDs and giving them opportunities to grow their careers.
In 2019, more than 5,900 employers hiring over 9,000 Singaporeans with disabilities benefited from Special Employment Credit – a form of wage support as compared to 3,200 employers hiring over 5,000 PwDs in 2012. We will be rolling out a new wage offset scheme, Enabling Employment Credit (EEC), to further encourage employers to hire PwDs.
In caring for our workers, it is important to support their mental well-being at workplaces.
The Government will formulate a Tripartite Advisory on Mental Well-being later this year to educate employers on initiatives to emulate. These could include progressive practices such as providing access to anonymised external counselling service. We are also coming up with psychosocial assessment tool to help employers and their employees identify work stressors.
By working together with our tripartite partners and fellow Singaporeans, we can build a fair and inclusive workplace for all employers and workers in an empathetic and caring manner.
People’s Action Party
22 March 2020