1,001 cleaning firms receive licences to operate

Some 1,000 cleaning companies have received their licences from the National Environment Agency (NEA), as the law requiring cleaning firms to be licensed kicks in on Monday. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Some 1,000 cleaning companies have received their licences from the National Environment Agency (NEA), as the law requiring cleaning firms to be licensed kicks in on Monday. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Some 1,000 cleaning companies have received their licences from the National Environment Agency (NEA), as the law requiring cleaning firms to be licensed kicks in on Monday.

These firms hire 52,000 cleaners. About 38,000, or about two-in three of them, are locals. Four in five of the licensed firms are small companies with fewer than 50 cleaners.

The data on the cleaning companies was revealed for the first time by the authorities on Monday morning.

Before compulsory licensing, the sector was largely unregulated and it was not known how many cleaning firms operate in Singapore. The firms had also suppressed wages to win new businesses.

The 1,001 licensed firms are now bound by law to pay their cleaners a minimum monthly basic wage of $1,000. The mandatory wage ladder increases to $1,600 for cleaning supervisors.

Firms get a one year reprieve for contracts signed before April 1 this year. But from September next year, the firms will have to pay all cleaners accordingly, regardless of when the contracts were signed.

So far, more than 26,000 local cleaners are already on the wage ladder, according to a statement by the Manpower Ministry, NEA, Singapore Workforce Development Agency and National Trades Union Congress.

All 38,000 local cleaners will be on the wage ladder by September next year, said labour chief Lim Swee Say.

Mr Lim added that the NTUC could follow suit with the security and landscaping sectors. He did not spell out a timeframe but added that an announcement on the wage ladder for security guards can be expected this year.