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Part-time workers also get Workfare Income Supplement

  • Lianhe Zaobao (06¬†March 2013) : Part-time workers also get Workfare Income Supplement
  • Lianhe Zaobao (26 February 2013) : Part-time worker regime should be regulated

Part-time workers also get Workfare Income Supplement
- Lianhe Zaobao, 06 March 2013)

  1. We refer to the commentary by Dr Tan Khee Giap (published in Lianhe Zaobao on 26 February 2013, "Part-time worker regime should be regulated").
  2. Prof Tan suggested expanding the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme to cover part-time work, and for the wage supplements to be linked to part-time workers' hourly wage. We wish to clarify that part-time workers already receive WIS today. WIS is given to eligible Singaporean workers earning an average gross monthly income of not more than $1,900 a month. This covers both full-time and part-time workers, and covers employees and self-employed persons. The amount of WIS given to a full-time and a part-time worker of the same profile is also the same, if both of them earn the same monthly wage.
  3. On the suggestion to peg WIS to hourly wages, MOM had considered the option. Today, an employee's eligibility for WIS is determined automatically based on the monthly CPF contributions that employees receive, without the need for the employee to apply. If we used hourly wages, workers or their employers would need to inform the Government of their hours worked before they can qualify for WIS. This would be onerous to implement and could also result in some workers not receiving WIS if they and/or their employers fail to provide such information before they can receive WIS.
  4. Prof Tan also proposed that the Government should regularize a part-time Singaporean workforce. We agree that having more flexible work arrangements will benefit Singaporeans such as housewives, retirees and students, who prefer alternative working arrangements. We also agree that more can definitely be done to reduce the mismatch between available jobs and workers' expectations and needs. MOM is working together with the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) to do more on this front.

Part-time worker regime should be regulated
- Lianhe Zaobao, 26 February 2013

The Government has said a lot and has done a lot in an attempt to attract more women and older Singaporeans to return to work. Even though there is some mismatch between the employment opportunities that could be provided and workers' expectations in some areas, these are still some good initiatives.

We would like to propose a policy suggestion to regulate Singapore's regime for part-time workers, to raise their salaries so as to be commensurate with the level of their productivity, as well as to encourage part-time workers to increase their productivity and the consistency of their work performance, hence reducing reliance on foreign blue-collared workers whose numbers having been swiftly growing.

This regulated regime for Singaporean part-time workers would also help increase residents' household income and reduce the resident income gap. Similar to the way Workfare Income Supplement scheme is in principle tied to monthly living wage, we suggest implementing a WIS which is tied to hourly wage, i.e. the Government would subsidise the hourly wage of part-time workers who are endorsed by WDA and who have a good track record of work performance as confirmed by their employers.

According to the preliminary findings of a study conducted by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Policy Asia Competitiveness Institute, increasing the hourly wage can effectively attractive highly consistently and highlight productive young local part-time workers. And ironically, MNCs and large enterprises can attract part-timers with a much lower hourly pay than local SMEs. Such a regulated part-time worker regime can also be conducted in the form of an internship or on-the-job training, and would be especially suited for university, polytechnic, ITE and secondary school students, to encourage them to enter the services industry and grow their skills and experience.