Singapore redoubles efforts to support lower-wage workers

The Progressive Wage Model will be expanded to new sectors such as retail, food services and waste management.
By: | September 2, 2021

Singapore will redouble its efforts to support lower-wage workers, accepting a list of recommendations by the Tripartite Workgroup on Lower-Wage Workers to uplift the lower-income group.

These include expanding the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) in two phases and implementing the Local Qualifying Salary (LQS) scheme that will ensure all local employees of firms with foreign staff are paid at least S$1,400 (US$1,040). 

Currently, companies only need to pay this amount to local employees, depending on the number of foreigners they hire.

The PWM will be extended to new sectors, such as the retail industry from September 1, 2022; food services, from March 1, 2023; and waste management, from 2023. 

For those working part-time or overtime, the PWM and LQS will be converted to “fair hourly working rates”, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement. “This will provide firms flexibility to hire locals on different work arrangements without losing foreign worker access, while ensuring fair wages for workers based on their hours worked,” it said. 

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MOM highlighted the importance of maintaining the principle that “wages should continue to keep pace with productivity growth, but provide scope for wage growth of lower-wage workers to outpace productivity”.

It added: “As lower-wage workers may be in roles with limited scope for productivity improvement, businesses should continue to enhance their firm-level productivity to better support wage increases for workers.”