National Wages Council to convene on Sept 1 to set out details on Progressive Wage Model wage range

The council will cover details for the Progressive Wage Model's range of wage growth for lower-income workers. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - The National Wages Council (NWC) will convene next Thursday (Sept 1) to come up with its annual guidelines on wage and employment issues, taking into account the economic recovery over the past year as well as the uncertain global economic outlook.

The guidelines are expected to be announced by the end of October, covering the period of Dec 1 this year to Nov 30 next year, the Ministry of Manpower said on Friday (Aug 26).

The council will cover details for the Progressive Wage Model's (PWM) range of wage growth for lower-income workers. The PWM, introduced in 2012, sets out the minimum pay and training requirements for workers at different levels of skill.

Details of the PWM's Occupational Progressive Wages for Administrators and Drivers, which will take effect from March 1 next year, will be covered under the guidelines.

Last year, the council included recommendations from the Tripartite Workgroup on Lower-Wage Workers in its guidelines, such as the range of progressive wage growth for lower-income employees in sectors like cleaning and security.

Under last year's guidelines, for example, lower-wage workers earning up to $2,000 gross a month were recommended to get a pay hike of $70 to $90, or a 4.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent raise.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced last year that PWM would be extended to more sectors, such as retail, food services and waste management, and would cover specific occupations like administrative assistants and drivers across all sectors simultaneously.

NWC chairman Peter Seah said: "Amid an uncertain geopolitical climate and rising business and living costs, we must press on with business and workforce transformation in order to support wage growth that is underpinned by productivity increases."

"Wage flexibility is key for our businesses to navigate economic uncertainty, increase job security for employees, and ensure that wages are adjusted in a fair and sustainable manner," he added.

Wealth management firm CIMB Private Banking economist Song Seng Wun said that this year's recommendations should not be different from last year's, with employers encouraged to pay according to market demand.

Members of the public are invited to share their views on wage-related issues and suggestions for the upcoming guidelines. Feedback can be submitted online here from now until Sept 9.

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