Forum: Progressive wage or minimum wage? Detailed study needed

A cleaner washing the void deck of a HDB block in Hougang Avenue 10.
A cleaner washing the void deck of a HDB block in Hougang Avenue 10.PHOTO: ST FILE

Members of Parliament had a robust debate on the efficacy of a universal minimum wage policy to lift the wages of lower-wage workers, while minimising the cost to society (House sees spirited debate on issue of minimum wage, Sept 4).

However, as Straits Times senior political correspondent Grace Ho pointed out, the debate generated "more heat than light" (A spirited debate on minimum wage, but where are the details?, Sept 4).

It is time for an extensive study on the effectiveness of a universal minimum wage model in Singapore.

This study should highlight the impact of universal minimum wage policies implemented around the world.

It should also consider a report on what has been achieved since the introduction of the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) since 2012.

These should be done via a parliamentary committee.

Based on the study, the parliamentary committee should provide recommendations on whether the PWM or a universal minimum wage model would suit the unique context of Singapore.

This study will hopefully strengthen the quality of arguments surrounding the PWM versus a universal minimum wage model in future debates.

Alson Tan Yong Kiong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2020, with the headline 'Progressive wage or minimum wage? Detailed study needed'. Print Edition | Subscribe