Minimum pay rise may help sustain low-wage workers

Last year, the National Wages Council (NWC) recommended that workers earning a basic monthly salary of up to S$1,000 be given a S$50 increment. While Singapore does not practice minimum wage, this is “the first time in 28 years that the NWC is calling for a minimum pay rise”.


The recommendation is supported by the government, who urged companies to ensure that low-wage workers are not falling behind the income increase.




A recent Wage Report shows that only 37 companies (16%) paid less than S$50 built-in dollar quantum, out of which one-third of these companies had an average basic salary of $1,000 and below.


The relevant sectors are in Electronics, Food Manufacturing, Chemical, Light Manufacturing, Hotels and Country Clubs.




While the NWC guideline was not fully adopted by every company, this indicates a step towards establishing sustainability with low-wage workers during economic growth.


This is in hope that industries that are looking to keep employees will eventually embrace the need to reward productivity even at the lowest level.


Given the different industry performance, other factors may come into play to increase the dollar quantum value or provide variable payments.


Enhancing employability of workers through continuing training and measurement of productivity can be pegged against pay rise as well. These indirectly help management subscribe to labour based on skill requirements as opposed to cheap labour.


The report also predicts that the Childcare, Attractions & Resorts, Hotel, and Land Transport industries can expect same or higher annual increment and bonuses, likely due to the country’s pressing policies of increasing the national birth rate and enhancing infrastructure sustainability.

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