Addendum to the President's Address
1. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, economic and geopolitical uncertainties are expected to weigh on the labour market. To tackle these challenges, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will redouble our efforts to expand opportunities, strengthen support and assurance, and foster fair, inclusive, and safe workplaces for Singaporeans.
Expand Opportunities for Singaporeans
Empower Singaporeans to Seize Opportunities
2. As part of the Forward Singapore exercise, MOM and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) have been engaging Singaporeans from all walks of life. Many are concerned about staying relevant and competitive, and having job opportunities that match their aspirations.
3. As our economy transforms, MOM will empower Singaporean workers to take charge of their careers and improve their career prospects and resilience. MOM has launched Jobs Transformation Maps to provide individuals with insights on how technology will affect their jobs and how they can proactively take measures to remain competitive and relevant. Singaporeans can also tap on employment facilitation programmes by Workforce Singapore to chart out their career paths. We will be launching CareersFinder, a feature on the MyCareersFuture portal, to help workers plan for their next career move using data and artificial intelligence. For workers who face displacement, we will help them in their job search.
4. For those inclined towards “hands-on” work, MOM will work with NTUC to professionalise skilled trades, to attract and retain more Singaporeans in such jobs through better salaries and clearer progression ladders. We have made headway in uplifting the image and attractiveness of skilled professions that work with the “heart”, such as nursing and early childhood education. We must do likewise for trades that emphasise craft and skills mastery.
5. MOM also aims to build up a stronger local pipeline for corporate leadership positions. We want to see more Singaporeans becoming specialists and leaders in their chosen fields of our economy and growing their careers in Singapore and on the global stage.
Ensure Foreign Workforce Complementarity and Businesses’ Access to Workers
6. MOM will also support employers to grow and transform. Only with strong companies can we have a vibrant economy and good job opportunities. To this end, we will support our local workforce to constantly improve, even as Singapore remains open to foreign manpower that complements locals.
7. From September 2023, we will roll out the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) for new Employment Pass (EP) applications. Through COMPASS, we will encourage companies to build strong and diverse teams, with Singaporeans and skilled EP holders working alongside and learning from one another. The COMPASS Shortage Occupation List allows firms to access applicants with highly specialised skills, while the Strategic Economic Priorities bonus facilitates applications from firms that support Singapore’s strategic priorities. We will also support businesses that contribute to our strategic priorities with additional Work Permit and S Pass quotas via the Manpower for Strategic Economic Priorities scheme.
Strengthen Support and Assurance for Singaporeans
Support Vulnerable Workers
8. Our growth has been and must continue to be inclusive. We have made progress in looking after vulnerable workers and will press on with our efforts.
9. We will invest heavily to uplift the salaries and skills of lower-wage workers, and help them progress in their careers. By July 2023, up to nine in ten lower-wage workers will benefit from Progressive Wages (PWs). We have also enhanced the Workfare Income Supplement scheme to increase maximum payments and expand coverage to half a million lower-wage workers. With the recently launched PW Mark, consumers and corporate buyers can play their part to support firms that pay progressive wages.
10. Seniors who want and are able to continue working should have maximum access to employment opportunities. We have been raising the retirement and re-employment ages progressively, and have extended the Senior Employment Credit and Part-time Re-employment Grant until 2025 to provide employers with wage offsets. In addition, we have enhanced the Enabling Employment Credit to raise wage offsets to employers who hire unemployed persons with disabilities. We have also introduced a new Uplifting Employment Credit to incentivise firms to hire ex-offenders.
11. A substantial group of workers provide services, such as deliveries and vehicle rides, via digital platforms. They need better protection. We have accepted the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers and will require platform companies to provide platform workers with work injury compensation and Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions. Platform workers will also be able to seek formal representation and negotiate for their collective interests.
Bolster Retirement Adequacy
12. A decade ago, about five in ten active CPF members were able to attain their cohort Basic Retirement Sum at age 55. This has improved to almost seven in ten today and is expected to reach about eight in ten in 2027.
13. We are undertaking a fundamental review of our policies for retirement adequacy under the Forward Singapore exercise. We will bolster retirement adequacy and make sure the CPF system continues to work for the broad majority of Singaporeans. We will raise the CPF monthly salary ceiling to keep pace with rising incomes, which will help middle-income workers save more during their working years.
14. Ultimately, we seek to assure all Singaporeans that as long as they work and contribute consistently to their CPF, they will be able to meet their basic retirement needs. We will also find ways to look after those who are unable to work consistently or who have a shorter runway of working years.
Foster Fair, Inclusive and Safe Workplaces for All
15. MOM will continue to foster fair, inclusive, and safe workplaces, shape workplace norms, and ensure an even playing field for all.
16. Employers must pay attention to fair consideration when hiring. We will require employers, by law, to advertise jobs on MyCareersFuture and fairly consider all candidates, before applying for an EP or S Pass. We will enact workplace fairness legislation to provide stronger protection against workplace discrimination and enable workers to seek redress for harm done. We will also continue to shape the right norms to help make our workplace practices more flexible. By 2024, we will introduce Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) to help employers and employees adopt FWAs in a win-win manner.
17. Even one workplace death is one too many. We remain committed to advancing workplace safety and health, and will strive towards our 2028 target to reduce the workplace fatal injury rate to below 1.0 per 100,000 workers.
Build on the Foundation of Tripartism
18. MOM must continue to be both pro-worker and pro-business. We will build on the strong foundation of tripartism to journey hand-in-hand, step-by-step with all workers and businesses towards a better future.