'Clean wage' policy should account for overtime hours

It seems fair that parking charges are being implemented for teachers in schools in line with the Public Service Division's "clean wage" policy, which ensures that all salaries are accounted for with no hidden benefits (Parking fees for teachers to kick in from August; March 27).

This is reasonable, especially as other workers have to pay for parking at their respective workplaces.

However, while eliminating hidden subsidies and charging teachers for parking appears to be an economically sound decision, I wonder if it is the sensible thing to do. According to the report, the Ministry of Education (MOE) considered input from a professional valuer over parking charges, but were teachers consulted as well?

If the Government indeed wants to charge teachers for parking in the name of economic transparency, then what about the overtime hours - which often go unaccounted for - that teachers put in to grade assignments?

If the MOE genuinely wants wages to be crystal clear, then these unaccounted costs have to be taken into account as well.

Teachers are the bedrock of our society. In the grand scheme of things, such small perks are inconsequential compared with their dedication and selflessness to generations of children.

The onus is on the Government to look beyond the economic considerations and examine suggestions holistically before adopting them. Not everything can be measured in dollars and cents.

Sean Lim Wei Xin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2018, with the headline ''Clean wage' policy should account for overtime hours'. Print Edition | Subscribe