Forum: Budgets don't do enough for employers

When I first heard that $55 billion is being pumped into the economy, I was enthusiastic.

But now I am left feeling apprehensive as the approach being taken is more pro-employee than pro-employer.

The National Wages Council (NWC) recommends that employers endeavour to pay their employees the annual wage supplement (AWS) this year (Tap govt support, trim other costs before pay cuts: NWC, March 31).

Many employers are already struggling and wondering how we are to pay employee salaries the next few months. Where are we to find the resources to pay the AWS?

I struggle to support the recommendation to reduce non-wage costs before making wage adjustments. There is zero revenue, and there are rentals, water, electricity and Wi-Fi bills and other costs to pay. These are the basics of operating a business which we can do little about.

Salaried directors and partners who own their companies cannot claim 25 per cent wage support for their salaries, and we are not included in the scheme that allows the self-employed to claim $1,000 a month.

The staff can go home after a day's work but we cannot. We have to continuously think of how to save the company and jobs.

Shouldn't this group be considered for wage credit? We, too, have families to feed.

Professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) and senior management personnel who are not business owners should take a proactive approach and help their companies.

Employees need to buy in when cost-cutting measures are introduced, instead of being displeased and running off to complain to the NTUC and NWC.

If the company collapses, everyone goes down together with it.

What I absolutely agree with NWC on is to freeze the wages of low-wage workers earning below $1,400. In fact, the threshold should be raised to $1,800 because there is little left after Central Provident Fund deductions are made.

These are the people who clean our streets and tables, wash our dishes and build our homes. No matter where they come from, we are grateful for their contributions. So we must save their jobs.

If the Government and employers have skin in the game, what about the employees?

I really hope we can call upon all employees in Singapore to lose a small battle but win the war.

Delane Lim

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