To answer this question swiftly, we compiled a small table on the different ways some countries approach labour welfare.
You will notice that some countries have zero paid maternity leave, public holidays and even medical benefits. There are some things to note about this.
a.) Documented here are federal laws that affect the whole nation. Some states in America (three to be specific) have provided for paid maternity leave for their residents
b.) In Japan, the government has a social welfare program that pays for maternity leave instead of the company. All the business has to do is provided unpaid leave.
c.) In many of these countries, it is the trade unions that take on the job of negotiating with individual companies to acquire different varieties of benefits.
From this table, we’re inclined to conclude that Singapore’s system is the better one. Why?
We have a national standard that all employers must comply with. This assures all workers of a uniform level of benefit that can be enjoyed throughout the country. There is less need for trade union involvement (which often includes intimidation and provocation) to achieve worker’s welfare. Workers can then focus on building careers and skills rather than just looking for the next job that satisfies basic welfare needs.
Although it might seem like a romantic idea for trade unions to fight for worker’s welfare and rights, the reality is that trade union activities can pit workers against management unnecessarily. In Singapore, the work of trade unions has moved from aggression to value creation. It contributes to an environment where businesses flourish to the benefit of workers.
When the time comes for these basic needs to level up, Singapore’s trade unions, employers and the government convene to agree on how best to progress. The National Wages Council is one such body that demonstrates this (it is the first organisation to demonstrate tripartite actually). Each year, the three parties get together and in businesslike manner, propose a wage increase that all consent to.
Contrast this to protests and demonstrations in many countries when the need to increase the minimum wage happens.
What else can you derive from the table? Share your thoughts!