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Written Answer by Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on NWC Dollar Quantum Payouts for Low Wage Workers

Notice Paper No. 07 Of 2016 For The Sitting On 29 January 2016 Question No. 20 For Written Answer

MP: Mr Zainal Sapari

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) how many low-wage workers, and what percentage of them, have received the dollar quantum payouts of $60, recommended by the National Wages Council (NWC) in 2015; and (b) whether these payouts can be made compulsory for workers from the bottom 10th percentile of the workforce.

  1. Since the NWC quantitative guidelines were introduced in 2012, the proportion of full-time employed resident employees earning basic monthly salary of up to $1,000 is estimated to have decreased from 9.8% in 2012 to 6.8% in 2014. 
  2. The Ministry’s Survey on Annual Wage Changes showed that, nearly six in ten (59%) private establishments with employees earning a basic monthly salary of up to $1,000, had given or decided to give wage increases to these employees in 2014. This included three in ten (31%) which gave the NWC’s recommended built-in wage increase of at least a $60 to this group of workers. Data for 2015 is not yet available.
  3. The NWC Guidelines are arrived at through tripartite consultation and consensus, which recommend that businesses take into account economic conditions, business performance and employees’ contribution in determining wage increases. Such consensus-building helps facilitate the acceptance and implementation of guidelines. While NWC Guidelines are not mandatory, they are widely referred to by companies 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.