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Pilot study to support well-being of essential services workers and new Workcare Grant to support the provision of rest areas

    1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has released findings of the Workcare pilot study on supporting the well-being of essential services workers. In addition, MOM has launched the Workcare Grant today, to support building owners, service buyers and service providers in improving the work environments for these workers. These initiatives are part of the effort to enable stakeholders and the society at large to support our lower-wage workers.

      Recommendations from Workcare pilot study on ways for public and corporates to improve well-being of outsourced essential services workers1

    2. A pilot study was launched in November 2019 as part of the Workcare initiative, alongside the Tripartite Advisory on the Provision of Rest Areas for Outsourced Workers, to better understand the needs and challenges of service buyers, providers, workers, and other stakeholders.

    3. A multi-disciplinary team from MOM led the pilot study using the Understand-Design-Test methodology, an in-house method based on design thinking principles. (See Annex A for an overview of the pilot study.)

    4. The findings from the pilot study highlight the role that the wider group of stakeholders – service providers, service buyers, users of the services, and society at large – can play to recognise the work of essential services workers, many of whom are employed by outsourced vendors, and show care for their rest needs. In the context of conservancy cleaners, the pilot study also provides some low-cost and easy-to-implement interventions for service buyers and providers to enhance rest areas. These include:

      1. providing secure personal lockers to store personal belongings safely;
      2. allowing workers to customise their rest areas to instil a sense of belonging;
      3. showcasing the work and efforts of workers to build a connection between them and residents/tenants, such as through redesigned notices; and
      4. creating opportunities for residents/tenants to appreciate the contribution of workers.

    5. These findings will inform and complement the efforts of the Tripartite Workgroup on Lower-Wage Workers, which is considering a multi-pronged effort to uplift their well-being.

      Workcare Grant to spur piloting of rest area solutions

    6. The $1 million Workcare Grant will encourage progressive building owners, service buyers, and service providers to pilot solutions that improve the work environments of our essential services workers, as outlined in the Tripartite Advisory on the Provision of Rest Areas for Outsourced Workers.

       

    7. The Workcare Grant will provide eligible recipients with funding support of up to 80% of qualifying expenses to provide new rest areas or improve existing ones, capped at $8,000 and $3,000 respectively. The Grant is expected to benefit over 2,000 outsourced essential services workers, such as cleaners and security officers. (See Annex B for details.) MOM will identify pilot solutions which have the potential to be expanded in scale to benefit more of such workers.

       

    8. The National Trades Union Congress’ U Care Centre will administer the Grant. For more information, please visit www.mom.gov.sg/workcare

     

     


     

    ANNEX A

     

    Overview of Workcare Pilot Study

    A multi-disciplinary team from MOM led the pilot study using the Understand-Design-Test methodology, a method devised in-house based on design thinking principles.

     

    Period

    Phase

    Work done

    Nov 2019 to Jan 2020

     

    Understand the landscape of lower-wage work and actors within their environment, with a focus on outsourced cleaners

     

    • In collaboration with West Coast Town Council and Ang Mo Kio Town Council, MOM conducted site recces at Town Council rest areas, shadowed 12 outsourced cleaners across 4 days, and interviewed their employers (cleaning companies) and town council staff.

    Jan to Jul 2020

    Design interventions to improve quality of rest, and therefore work, of these lower-wage workers

     

    Test effectiveness of interventions

     

    • Refurbishment of 20 rest areas for outsourced cleaners, in collaboration with West Coast Town Council and Ang Mo Kio Town Council
    • Prototyping, testing of interventions in 1 rest area over a period of 8 weeks.

    Nov 2020

    • Follow-up interviews with 4 pairs of corporate service buyers and providers from other sectors who provide progressive rest areas for their workers to glean best practices

     

     

    For more information on the Workcare pilot study, please visit www.mom.gov.sg/workcare.


     

    ANNEX B

     

    Workcare Grant criteria and eligibility

     

     

    The Workcare Grant aims to promote the provision of proper and reasonable rest areas to improve the well-being of outsourced essential services workers, in accordance with the Tripartite Advisory on the Provision of Rest Areas for Outsourced Workers.

     

    Criteria

     

    The Workcare Grant has two tiers of funding for the provision of proper and reasonable rest areas. The first tier is for setting up a new rest area, and the second tier is for making improvements to an existing rest area.

     

    The amount of funding support for projects under each tier is provided in the table below:

     

     

    Project Type

    Funding Support

    Tier 1: Provision of a new rest area

    80% of costs, up to $8,000

    Tier 2: Improvements to an existing rest area

    80% of costs, up to $3,000

     

    Eligibility

     

    Building owners that are service buyers with at least 10 outsourced essential services workers2 may apply for the Workcare Grant. Interested applicants may visit www.ntuc.org.sg/ucarecentre to find out more about the grant eligibility and application process.

     

    For more information, please visit www.mom.gov.sg/workcare.

     

     


     

FOOTNOTE

  1. Mainly refers to outsourced workers performing manual jobs at their service buyers’ premises. [Tripartite Advisory on the Provision of Rest Areas for Outsourced Workers, 2019]
  2. Mainly refers to outsourced workers performing manual jobs at their service buyers’ premises. [Tripartite Advisory on the Provision of Rest Areas for Outsourced Workers, 2019]