Some Singapore SMEs to benefit from new savings and perks plan by NTUC unit

Eligible SMEs will enjoy benefits such as a sponsored refrigerator with pantry snacks from FairPrice. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be able to access a new initiative that provides up to $2,300 in savings and benefits per worker.

Eligible SME partners of NTUC U SME can now tap the NTUC In Your Workplace initiative for such benefits.

It is the first programme of its kind by the labour movement's SME arm to help local businesses and their workers tap products and services of NTUC's social enterprises and partners.

Eligible SMEs will enjoy benefits such as a sponsored refrigerator with pantry snacks from FairPrice; a free account on NTUC Learning Hub's LHub GO platform, which has more than 75,000 online courses; and a free two-day trial at NTUC Health Senior Care Centres for staff who require assistance for respite care.

"This is on top of the benefits that workers will enjoy when they sign up for the NTUC membership," said U SME on Monday (Aug 23).

To participate in the programme, an SME must have signed a memorandum of understanding with U SME. It must also ensure that at least 80 per cent of its workforce are NTUC members and it meets at least half of the criteria set out under the unit's 3B framework.

The framework - which stands for Better Workplace, Better Worker and Better Job - covers criteria such as having rest areas for workers, employee recognition programmes and digital transformation efforts.

U SME said that 10 per cent of its 400 partner SMEs are currently eligible for the initiative and that it will work with more businesses to help them achieve the 3B criteria.

The unit added that it worked with SMEs to identify their welfare and training needs to curate these benefits. It cited a recent NTUC LearningHub survey which found that SMEs are less likely to send their staff for training, compared with larger companies, due to constraints such as a lack of resources.

"With work from home as the default, online courses would be an efficient method to upskill workers. For workers who must return to workplaces, the pantry snacks serve as an incentive to workers, while the complimentary care centre trial will provide respite (care) support and relief for workers (swamped) with family responsibilities," added U SME.

The initiative was launched on Monday by NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng during a visit to Lim Kee Food Manufacturing - the programme's first recipient.

The company's 60 workers will enjoy up to $140,000 in savings and benefits per year, including savings under their NTUC memberships and from the company's regular staff benefits.

Mr Ang Khim Wee, Lim Kee's head of business development, said NTUC's support will help the company to concentrate on its business goals and emerge stronger from the Covid-19 pandemic.

"When our workers are adequately covered in welfare and training, they are able to contribute to work productively," he said.

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