Great news for low-wage workers: they will receive higher salaries this year

According to the latest statements coming from the National Wages Council, more workers that are currently earning low wager will begin to enjoy bigger salaries starting with 2018. The council strongly recommended companies to start sharing their growths in the productivity and economic sectors with their workers. Besides this, the NWC also increased the minimum wage threshold from $1200 to $1300, recommending built-in increments with values from $50 to $70, at least. In comparison with 2017, 24,000 additional workers will be included in this scheme and will enjoy bigger paychecks soon. Overall, a total number of 150,000 workers will have bigger salaries starting with this year.

Francis Tan, an economist at United Overseas Bank, backs up the initiative of NWC, saying that an additional $50 increase to a worker that earns $1000, for example, is a good initiative. This means a 5% increase in his salary, which means that the increase will exceed inflation’s percentage, expected to be anywhere between 0.5 and 1% in 2018. According to Mr. Tan, the proposed raise is just right, as it is not too high to affect the profit margin of companies and not too low, risking to fall below last year’s raise.

For the workers in the private sector, things slowed down a little, as the growth for their real wages reached only 3.2%. This is due to the percentage of inflation, which was 0.6%, according to the data released by the Ministry of Manpower. But for the low-wage workers, the NWC made several recommendations with the occasion of releasing this year’s guidelines. For the first time, the NWC suggested that companies should offer bonuses of $300 to $600, according to their 2017 gains from productivity. This bonus can be paid all at once or it can be split in a number of payments throughout the year.

This kind of suggestion came after Singapore recorded a great economic growth in 2017, of a stunning 3.6%. Compared with the 2.4% achieved in 2016, the growth was more than expected. In this context, the productivity generated by labor increased with a whopping 3.8%, so considering that it was the effort of the laborers, they should be repaid for making this growth possible. The civil service, which is Singapore’s largest employer, just accepted these new guidelines and stated that they will become effective starting on the 1st of July.

In 2017, two-thirds of the private businesses activating in the country respected NWC’s recommendations and gave their low-wage workers a raise according to the guidelines. Thus, approximately 68% of all low-wage workers that had at least 1 year of activity in the field enjoyed more money to their monthly income. Still, there are many uncertainties that companies have to face every year, so the best way to go when it comes to rewarding workers, according to NWC, is to offer them payments in accordance with the company’s performances. Also, the NWC saluted the Government’s initiative that looks for better methods of integrating older people into the work field, together with constantly encouraging companies to come up with schedules that are more flexible with the purpose of allowing mothers to get back to work with ease after having a baby.



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