MPs called for more incentives for companies to employ locals

15 Oct 2020 2 min read

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PAP Members of Parliament called for more incentives for companies to employ Singaporean workers, and to adopt the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) Mark and uplift the pay of lower-waged workers.

MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC Gan Thiam Poh called for further incentives for companies to employ locals, in additional to the Job Growth Incentive (JGI), especially to support those who are middle-aged and above who have been retrenched. He also suggested up to half of the 50 per cent or 25 per cent support to be paid to employees as Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) payout to narrow the job and income expectations mismatch.

To foster inclusive growth, MP for Bukit Batok SMC Murali Pillai proposed providing a higher tier wage support of 50 per cent under Jobs Growth Incentive to incentivise employers to employ ex-offenders.

MP for Tampines GRC and NTUC Deputy Secretary General Dr Koh Poh Koon proposed to expand the PWM and use regulatory levers to help incentivise firms to adopt the PWM Mark. To complement the existing PWM efforts, he also proposed setting a sectoral wage benchmark as a first step for companies in sectors where there are currently no regulatory levers to mandate a PWM.

MP for Sembawang GRC Poh Li San proposed allocating part of the Budget to raise the pay of manufacturing industry workers to a more acceptable level benchmarked against industries which have implemented the PWM. Alternatively, she suggested, PWM could be applied directly to the companies to help them attract local workers instead of relying on foreign workers. 

On skills upgrading for Singaporeans, Murali suggested re-looking at the funding model by using a tiered approach that incentivises Singaporeans to re-skill as they get older instead of backloading the extra subsidies when they reach 40.

MP for Jalan Besar GRC Dr Wan Rizal proposed mandating a “protected time” of half a day during the work week for workers to take on courses and work on enhancing their skill sets.

As for support for Singaporeans in need, MP for Jurong GRC Xie Yao Quan proposed pro-rating the COVID Support Grant for applicants whose income loss of up to 30 per cent and avoid the all-or-none cliff effect of the current criterion. This would provide calibrated relief for more middle-income families, and better cushion the lingering economic pains of the pandemic for Singaporeans.

To promote employee well-being, MP for Nee Soon GRC Louis Ng proposed legislating the right for all employees to work from home, and require employers who reject the request to provide a specific business-related reason. Dr Wan Rizal also asked whether Ministry of Manpower will consider normalising work-from-home arrangements in the post-pandemic period and advocate among companies for more flexibility in work arrangements beyond the current crisis.

Separately, to encourage more seniors to go digital, MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC Hany Soh proposed for banks and the Ministry of Communications and Information to set up digital banking “training kiosks” at all banks and Community Clubs to provide hands on experiential learning for seniors. This would then facilitate every senior into the digital World.