Oral Answer by Senior Minister of State Zaqy Mohamad to PQ on PWM Implementation Gaps
NOTICE PAPER NO. 1683 OF 2023 FOR THE SITTING ON OR AFTER 08 FEBRUARY 2023
QUESTION NO. 4211 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Ms Carrie Tan
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether the Ministry is aware of cases where experienced and older employees in the security, landscaping and cleaning sectors suffer demotion and salary cuts for failing to pass required certification tests due to language or literacy limitations since the Progressive Wage Model was implemented; and (b) whether the Ministry has looked into these implementation gaps to address such side effects of the policy that do not align with the policy intent; and (c) what can workers who find themselves in such situations do.
1. The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) provides career and training progression pathways for our lower-wage workers, which allows them to see meaningful and sustainable wage increases as they improve their skills and productivity. Each PWM ladder differentiates job rungs based on the job scope and skills required – higher wages on upper job rungs reflect the increased responsibilities and skills expected of employees. PWM training requirements specified for each job rung support employees in acquiring the skills needed to do that job.
2. Employers deploy their employees to the appropriate job rungs, taking into account business needs and the ability of the employee to do the job. Employers are required to pay their employees the applicable PWM wage for the job rung they are deployed to. While there are training requirements for each job rung, PWM wages are based on the job that the employee is performing, and not the completion of training requirements. An employer must therefore pay an employee the applicable PWM wage even if the employee has not yet met the PWM training requirements, as long as the employee is performing the job. Generally, the employer would have placed the employee on a job that the employee is able to perform. If the employee does not possess the skills required to perform the job, employers can re-deploy the employee to more appropriate roles.
3. PWM training requirements are determined through tripartite consultation and agreement. Tripartite partners are mindful that training requirements meant to uplift lower-wage workers should not end up disadvantaging them. To support the training of workers who may have lower literacy skills or face language barriers, training providers can supplement the delivery of PWM training courses with vernacular and/or visual aids. Where feasible, some PWM training requirements can also be met through assessment-only pathways. These pathways allow experienced employees to meet the PWM training requirements by completing assessments to show that they have the requisite skills, without having to attend the course.
4. To date, MOM, SSG, as well as the respective lead sector agencies of the PWMs for the Cleaning, Security and Landscape sectors1 have not received feedback about demotions or salary cuts due to failing to pass PWM training requirements. Employees who face challenges in completing PWM training requirements due to language or literacy limitations may approach SSG for further assistance. Employees who feel unfairly treated can approach their unions or MOM for assistance.