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Written Answer by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Acting Minister for Manpower & Senior Minister of State, National Development, to Parliamentary Question on National Wages Council's Recommendation for Built-in Wage Increase

Ms Mary Liew: To ask the Acting Minister for Manpower how does the Ministry ensure that non-unionised low-wage workers earning below $1,000 will benefit from the recent National Wage Council recommendation for them to receive a built-in wage increase of at least $50.

Mr Tan Chuan-Jin:

NWC wage guidelines are widely referred to in both the unionised and non-unionised sectors. They are also gazetted under the Employment Act and form the basis for wage negotiations between unions and management.

This year the NWC has specifically recommended that for workers earning a basic monthly salary of up to $1,000, companies grant a built-wage increase of at least $50. The tripartite partners including the unions and employers have given their unequivocal support for the recommendation. Feedback from the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) shows that there is strong consensus by employers, both unionised and non-unionised, to do more for our low wage workers.

The Government has also announced that civil servants in Divisions IV and III, including those earning more than $1,000 per month, will be given wage increases of at least $80 per month, beyond the NWC’s recommendations. The impetus generated by the Government’s move, and the tightening labour market, make it more likely that this year’s wage increase guidelines for workers earning $1,000 and below can be implemented by companies.

The Government is committed to uplifting the wages of our low wage workers. We are working closely with the unions, employers and stakeholders involved to achieve this in a sustainable manner especially in sectors where there is a large proportion of low wage workers such as cleaning and security.