In the light of the softening of the economy and slowdown of growth, businesses are laying off workers as they restructure.
Some time back, NTUC Assistant Secretary General Patrick Tay shared during an interview session with local bloggers that Singaporean PMEs are very vulnerable in the uncertain economic conditions ahead.
According to the Manpower Ministry’s statistics, the number of workers made redundant increased to 4,850 in the 4th quarter of 2015. Most of these retrenched workers are PMEs.
But is that a cause for concern, not exactly.
If like some people, you feel that the recent Budget announcement has focused too much on businesses, leaving little for workers, you might want to rethink a little.
The Budget, in supporting the restructuring and transformation of businesses and enterprises in this economic backdrop, is also protecting the jobs and future of employees in the long run.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced during the Budget that the government will introduce a couple of initiatives to support workers. These include the “Adapt and Grow” initiative to enhance employment support.
What this means for you and me, is that the government will support workers to adapt and grow their skills to the changing demands of the job market.
Should you find difficulty looking for new employment, wage support schemes will be expanded, while the Professional Conversion Programme will be stepped up to more sectors to aid mid-career job seekers which includes retrenched professionals.
Recently, Mr Tay also shared during a media session about the jump in number of PMEs seeking help in employment issues at the NTUC U PME Centre. 518 cases of PMEs sought assistance for employment and employability issues between March 2015 to February 2016.
Before last week’s Budget announcement, the Labour movement had called on the government to do more to support PMEs and a stronger Singaporean Core during the Budget.
It asked the government to improve support for laid-off employees by widening the Career Support Programme to benefit all PMEs who were retrenched, regardless of age, and to raise subsidies to make the programme more attractive to employers.
Hence, the new “Adapt and Grow” initiative should be the answer to the Labour Movement’s call for more support for a stronger Singaporean Core and PMEs, which in turn is also a Budget that looks towards helping workers in the longer term.
Add on, the expansion and deepening of SkillsFuture and the introduction of the TechSkills Accelerator, PMEs should be well-taken care of in this Budget. Now we just gotta sit and watch what the relevant ministries are going to introduce in the coming year, during the Committee of Supply speeches.