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Tripartite Workgroup to Examine Ways to Uplift Wages and Well-Being of Lower-Wage Workers

The Tripartite Partners have formed a Tripartite Workgroup on Lower-Wage Workers (TWG-LWW) to explore measures to further uplift the wages and well-being of lower-wage workers.


2 Chaired by Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Senior Minister of State for Manpower, the Workgroup comprises employer and union representatives led respectively by Mr Douglas Foo, Vice President, Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) and Dr Koh Poh Koon, Deputy Secretary-General, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). The full composition of the TWG-LWW is in the Annex.


3 For over a decade, the Government has led a concerted effort to uplift lower-wage workers:

  • The Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme has been reviewed regularly since its introduction in 2007 and boosts the income and retirement savings of about 400,000 lower-wage workers annually by up to 30%. From 2007 to 2019, over $6.8 billion has been disbursed to 890,000 unique lower-wage workers.

  •  The Progressive Wage Model (PWM), implemented together with Tripartite Partners, provides wage, productivity, skills and job ladders to uplift 80,000 workers, with real incomes in these sectors growing cumulatively by around 30% from 2014 to 2019, outstripping 21% real income growth at the median for all sectors.
  • The Workcare initiative seeks to ensure the well-being and public appreciation of lower-wage workers, such as improving outsourced workers’ access to proper rest areas.

4 To further strengthen efforts in uplifting lower-wage workers, the Tripartite Partners recognise the need to come together to holistically examine lower-wage worker issues. Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a refreshed consensus on the way forward for workers and businesses will ensure that lower-wage workers can emerge stronger together with the rest of Singapore.


5 With this in mind, the TWG-LWW’s Terms of Reference are to propose interventions and mechanisms that will:


  1. Ensure wage growth in mandatory PWM sectors continue to outpace median wage growth;
  2. Significantly increase the number of lower-wage workers covered by PWMs;
  3. Offer progressive wages in occupations not covered by the mandatory PWMs;
  4. Recognise and promote stronger societal support for firms paying progressive wages; and
  5. Advance the well-being of lower-wage workers.

6 The TWG-LWW will consult extensively with unions, employers and other key stakeholders, as well as engage widely to get a good representation of views from society. The TWG-LWW aims to provide an interim update by mid-2021, and to complete its work by 1Q2022.