UOB to invest Wage Credit Scheme grant in development programme for employees

SINGAPORE - United Overseas Bank (UOB) will re-invest its $3.8 million grant from the Government's Wage Credit Scheme into a training, development and health programme for its employees.

The Wage Credit Employee Development Initiative (WCEDI) will be open to UOB's 3,600 employees at managerial level or below.

The eligible employees will be given 1,000 credits, which will allow each employee to register for about four to five of the nearly 100 available workshops, said Ms Jenny Wong, head of group for human resources at UOB.

The programmes, designed by the NTUC LearningHub, include courses on subjects such as IT skills, problem-solving and personal grooming.

Ms Wong said that the initiative is in addition to the existing development programmes offered by UOB. Employees there currently spend an average of seven to ten days a year receiving training, according to Ms Wong, who noted that the WCEDI will increase this number by three to four.

UOB has also developed a mobile application for employees to register for courses and attend virtual tutorials.

Additionally, it has used part of its grant to fund increased health benefits for employees.

Ms Wong said that about one-third of the payout will be put into employees' company welfare accounts. Each employee currently receives about $500 a year in these accounts, which can be used to pay for services concerning healthcare and well-being.

The additional money will expand each employee's account by nearly half, said Ms Wong.

Employees will be able to use the funds to pay for services such as dental and optical expenses, traditional Chinese medical treatments and gym memberships. Ms Wong noted that they would even be able to use the money to offset participation fees for marathons.

The announcement at Suntec City Convention Centre on Wednesday evening made UOB the first bank to invest its WCS grant in training and development schemes for employees. OCBC Bank announced last year that it would distribute its $3 million grant to about 1,500 staff members.

The Wage Credit Scheme was introduced in the 2013 Budget and renewed this year.

Under the Scheme, the Government co-funds 40 per cent of wage increases given from 2013 to this year and 20 per cent of those given from next year to 2017. The Scheme applies to Singaporean employees earning a gross monthly wage of up to $4000. Ms Wong clarified that the re-investment of the WCS grant did not mean that employees would not receive wage increases.