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Government Accepts National Wages Council's Guidelines For 2008/2009

The Government has accepted the National Wages Council (NWC)'s guidelines for 2008/2009.

Granting Sustainable Wage Increases and One-Off Special Payment

2.   Singapore is facing challenges of economic uncertainty and rising cost of living. The Government agrees with the NWC that pushing up wages to keep pace with high inflation would not be sustainable and would have an adverse impact on Singapore's competitiveness, especially in the light of the economic uncertainty. The Government therefore strongly supports the NWC's recommendation of granting sustainable built-in wage increases and making greater use of variable payments to reward workers. This will make our wage structure more flexible and responsive to sudden changes in the business environment, and will in turn help our economy to remain competitive and achieve continued employment growth.

3.   The Government also notes that the NWC has taken into account in its deliberations the extensive measures that the Government has introduced amounting to more than $3 billion that will help Singaporeans cope with the rising cost of living, especially the lower-income. It welcomes the NWC's recommendation of a one-off special lump sum payment by companies to their rank-and-file workers, with heavier weightage for low wage workers, to further help them cope with the higher inflation this year. It agrees with the NWC that this payment should take into account the Government's assistance measures and the company's ability to pay.

Enhancing Productivity

4.   As recommended by the NWC, the Government will continue to work with the tripartite partners to push for productivity improvement and raise skills levels through the implementation of the Continuing Education and Training (CET) Masterplan.

Supporting Tripartite Initiatives on Re-employment

5.   To enable our older workers to continue working and contribute to the company and the economy, the Government is pleased to note that the NWC has given its strong support to the re-employment of older workers beyond age 62. In this regard, the Government will work closely with the tripartite partners to help companies make appropriate adjustments and prepare for the introduction of the re-employment legislation by 2012.