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Government accepts National Wages Council recommendations for 2018/2019

  1. The Government accepts the National Wages Council (NWC) Guidelines for 2018/2019.
  2. The Government supports the NWC’s focus to enhance productivity by transforming businesses and upgrading skills. The Government welcomes strong involvement from employers and unions in operationalising the 23 Industry Transformation Maps. This will help spur productivity and innovation, allow our businesses to tap on opportunities in the future economy, and help workers take on better quality jobs. Companies should also make use of available Government support, such as the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme, to redesign jobs and transform toward higher productivity. This is needed for wage growth to be sustainable and for the economy to stay competitive.
  3. With on-going economic restructuring and changing nature of jobs, we must ensure there is sufficient support for workers to be agile and stay relevant. Workers can tap on the support under Adapt & Grow (A&G) and SkillsFuture initiatives to update their skills and take advantage of opportunities in the future economy. There has been an encouraging 20% increase in workers placed under A&G in 2017 due to the increase in employers’ participation, and more employers should tap on these programmes to meet their manpower needs.
  4. The Government welcomes the NWC’s recommendations for employers to grant a built-in wage increase of $50 to $70 for workers earning a basic wage of up to $1,300. The Government notes that the higher quantum of this year’s range reflects the improvement in general business conditions, while maintaining the flexibility for employers to provide wage increases. The Government supports the NWC’s move to build upon the success of earlier tripartite efforts to raise the wage threshold and cover more low-wage workers. This helps to sustain efforts to improve wage outcomes for low-wage workers. The Government will continue to take reference from the NWC guidelines in its annual wage increment exercise.
  5. The Government also notes that the NWC encourages companies that achieved productivity improvements in 2017 to provide a one-off special payment to workers. Specifically, the NWC encourages a payment quantum of $300 to $600 for workers earning a basic wage of up to $1,300, on top of the built-in wage increases. This additional payout rewards low-wage workers for their contributions and provides them higher variable payments.
  6. The Government recognises that many low-wage workers are employed in outsourced work. For the NWC recommendations to be effective, providers and buyers of outsourced services will need to play a part. As a service buyer, the Government fully supports best sourcing and will strongly encourage service providers to the public sector to adopt NWC wage recommendations for their workers. As Government procurement amounts to only a fraction of total spending on outsourced services, the Government urges employers and service buyers of these sectors to do the same.
  7. The strong tripartite partnership in the NWC has contributed to better wage and employment outcomes for our workers, while ensuring that our businesses stay productive and competitive. The Government is confident that with the commitment of the tripartite partners, the NWC 2018/2019 Guidelines will be successfully implemented.