Ministry of Manpower's Addendum to the President's Address 2018
Every generation seeks to do better than the one before. Besides improving employment outcomes, we want a more inclusive workforce, more progressive workplaces, and a greater sense of security in retirement. Despite global disruptions to business models and employment arrangements, Singaporeans can distinguish ourselves by becoming an agile workforce that charts a bold path forward.
- To have better jobs and higher incomes, our workers need businesses to transform. To stay competitive and innovative, our businesses need workers to adapt. We must maximise the benefits from technology, and minimise the cost of dislocations. To achieve good employment outcomes, we need business transformation and worker adaptation to be in sync with each other.
As our society matures, we aspire for a more inclusive workforce that values seniors and working women, and provides opportunities to persons with disabilities and ex-offenders. Our workplaces must have more progressive Human Resource (HR) practices with strong emphasis on employee protection, engagement, safety, and health. Industrial relations must continue to be underpinned by mutual respect and fair play between employers and employees. This has been the cornerstone of Singapore’s unique brand of tripartism that has stood the test of time.
With longer life expectancy, we must continue to strengthen retirement adequacy. We should enable Singaporeans to work as long as they wish to, whether through regular employment or participation in the emerging gig economy. We should also ensure that our Central Provident Fund (CPF) system remains responsive to the needs of Singaporeans.
Sustaining Good Employment Outcomes for the Agile Workforce
Help Businesses Transform & Grow
We will scale up the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme to support the implementation of Industry Transformation Maps for more pervasive productivity improvements and innovation, especially among Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Together with partners like Enterprise Singapore and NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute, we will promote ready-to-go solutions and industry-level projects for maximum reach and impact.
- We will launch SkillsFuture for Enterprises to help businesses make human capital development a key part of their corporate capabilities, to better support their internationalisation and growth. To spur transformation, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will work through economic agencies to provide selective flexibility in our foreign manpower policy to help businesses and industries meet short-term or emerging skills gaps.
Help Workers Adapt & Grow
- We will step up support for mid-career jobseekers and the long-term unemployed. The enhanced Place-and-Train schemes and Professional Conversion Programmes will help more workers re-skill and move into new occupations or sectors with progression. The new Career Trial will enable more jobseekers to try out short-term work stints, to facilitate their assessment of new jobs and careers.
- We will also transform our employment services through technology. The "MyCareersFuture" portal will make job searches more personalised, smarter, and faster, to better help jobseekers and employers find suitable matches.
Strengthen Singaporean Core through Capability Transfer
- Our foreign manpower policy will remain carefully calibrated to support our economic objectives while moderating social impact. We will continuously review the Fair Consideration Framework to secure the interests of working Singaporeans.
Singapore also has much to gain from our enterprises accessing global expertise. Through the Capability Transfer Programme, businesses can speed up the transfer of global expertise to strengthen their Singaporean core. We will support businesses that are committed to building a complementary local-foreign workforce.
Building an Inclusive Workforce and Progressive Workplaces
Foster Greater Inclusivity
- The re-employment age was raised to 67 in July 2017. With active ageing and improved health, we will work with tripartite partners to enable more seniors to work longer. Through WorkPro, we will support employers to re-design jobs to make them easier, safer, and smarter for seniors. We will actively promote the adoption of the Tripartite Standard on age-friendly workplace practices.
The Progressive Wage Model (PWM), which was initiated by the labour movement, has benefited more than 70,000 resident workers in the cleaning, landscaping, and security sectors. We will work with tripartite partners to enhance and extend PWM to more sectors to give more lower-wage workers better progression in jobs, skills, and wages.
We will support those with caregiving responsibilities, such as working mothers, to achieve both career and family aspirations. While our full-time employment rate for women ranks highly compared to OECD countries, our female part-time employment rate is relatively low. Through the Work-Life Grant, we will support more employers to provide Flexible Working Arrangements (FWAs) and help more companies adopt the Tripartite Standards on FWAs.
- We will support and fund employers to enhance the employment and employability of persons with disabilities through the Open Door Programme. We will also work with the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE) to equip ex-offenders with relevant skills to re-integrate into the workforce.
Champion Progressive Workplaces
We will champion fair and progressive workplaces and enhance core employment protection for all. We will remove the Employment Act’s salary cap to extend coverage to all managers and executives.
- Through the HR Industry Manpower Plan, we will strengthen the HR sector, uplift the HR profession, and promote progressive HR practices. We will also help good employers distinguish themselves through the Human Capital Partnership Programme.
We will help to ensure safe and healthy workplaces. The Work Injury Compensation Act will be amended to improve protection for injured workers and shorten insurance claims processing times. Having piloted the Return-To-Work programme since 2017, we will expand coverage to support all injured workers seeking rehabilitation treatment at public hospitals by 2020. Through the programme, injured workers can recover more quickly and resume work earlier. Our Workplace Safety and Health 2028 plan will chart new strategies to achieve a workplace fatality rate of less than one per 100,000 workers by 2028.
Besides helping regular employees, we will support self-employed persons and freelancers, including those who engage in the emerging gig economy. We will help them by promoting fair contracting terms, making available prolonged medical leave insurance products, and developing competency frameworks for skills upgrading so that their choice of self-employment is a viable and sustainable career option.
Ensuring Security in Retirement
Singaporeans can enjoy security in retirement through drawing on their CPF savings, discretionary savings, the support of their families, and monetising their housing assets. To help them plan better for retirement, the CPF Board will extend the voluntary consultation service that is currently available to all members turning age 55, to all members turning age 65 as well. We will supplement this with digital services to help more Singaporeans plan and improve their financial well-being in retirement.
We will provide more support for CPF members who top-up their own and their family members’ CPF, and enhance options to invest their savings for higher returns. These measures will further help members get higher retirement payouts.
We will continue to help lower-income Singaporeans build up their retirement savings through the Workfare Income Supplement scheme and to supplement their retirement income through the Silver Support scheme. We will also help self-employed persons make Medisave contributions in a convenient and timely manner.
Forging Ahead Together with Tripartite Partners
Singapore’s approach to tripartism sets a high bar. We have consistently sought to be both pro-business and pro-worker in all that we do.
With every generation of leaders, the tripartite partnership must be refreshed. MOM values the trust painstakingly built up over the years. With tripartism as our bedrock, we will nurture an agile workforce that is future-ready. With trust as our foundation, we will forge ahead together with our tripartite partners to fulfil the shared vision of an inclusive workforce, progressive workplaces, and secure retirement for all.