As the Singapore economy continues to face headwinds during the first half of the year, labour sector and financial experts encourage businesses to maintain the same level of wage increments for their low-wage earners this year, but to give the increments to more of such workers.
Following the recent rift between the US and China over trade policies, Singapore, as an external player in the global market, has also been affected by this situation. Despite this, the call for employers to maintain wage increases for this year remains, even raising the wage threshold to SGD 1,400 for such workers.
Wage Increase Recommendation for Workers Earning up to SGD 1,400
In its annual guidelines released on Thursday (May 30), the National Wages Council (NWC) also recommended that employers offer structured training to their workers so that they remain employable, as shared in a report by Today Online.
The following key points were brought up under the guidelines proposed by the NWC:
- Employers should give low-wage workers earning up to S$1,400 a built-in wage increase of S$50 to S$70 this year, the same range it suggested last year. However, the wage threshold has been expanded from last year only covering up to those earning up to S$1,300.
- A one-off payment of S$200 to S$360 for low-wage workers employed by companies which recorded productivity growth last year. This has only been the second time that the NWC has recommended for such a payment, though the range has dropped from last year’s recommendation of S$300 to S$600.
- And for low-wage workers earning more than S$1,400, the NWC recommends for employers to offer a reasonable pay bump and/or a one-off lump-sum payment “based on (qualified employees’) skills and productivity.”
The decision of the council to raise the basic wage threshold is due to the fact that the proportion of full-time resident employees earning a basic monthly pay of S$1,300 is estimated to have dropped from 9.2 percent in 2017 to 7.9 percent last year.
Meanwhile, the increased threshold for such provisions will place another 22,000 full-time resident employees under the NWC guidelines, bringing the total number to around 154,000 workers.
All companies, both in the public and private sectors, are encouraged to adopt the council’s wage guidelines, which are not legally binding.