Offer staff structured training, Wages Council urges firms, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Offer staff structured training, Wages Council urges firms

This article is more than 12 months old

NWC: Raising productivity can sustain wage hikes

With uncertainties rising this year and productivity growth flagging last year, the National Wages Council has urged all employers to offer their staff structured training.

This, in turn, would reignite productivity growth to support and sustain wage hikes, it said yesterday.

While asking employers that have done well and have good business prospects to offer salary hikes and bonuses, the council said it expects all companies that improved their productivity last year to give their workers a one-off payment.

On top of this, it urged companies to raise the monthly salaries of low-wage workers by between $50 and $70.

The threshold has been raised this year to those earning a basic wage of up to $1,400 a month - up from last year when only those earning $1,300 a month were included.

The move is expected to benefit 22,000 more workers. In all, about 154,000 full-time resident workers will come under the new basic wage threshold.

The Government, Singapore's biggest employer, said that it accepts the council's recommendations.

The council took into account economic growth prospects, productivity and workforce training trends in making its recommendations.

It noted that last year wages had grown faster than the productivity growth of 2.4 per cent.

"Wage growth must be supported by productivity growth," said the council.

It added: "All employers should develop a training plan that meet their current and future requirements."

The council noted that the growth outlook for the year is dimmer than last year's and asked companies to reward employees based on their performance and business prospects.

Dr Robert Yap, Singapore National Employers Federation president, said companies that are not performing well should take advantage of the downtime to send workers for training.

The council said companies that improved their productivity last year should also give workers who earn a basic monthly salary of up to $1,400 a one-off payment of $200 to $360, a tighter range than the $300 to $600 suggested last year.

CIMB Private Banking economist Song Seng Wun called the recommendations sensible as the Singapore economy braces itself for a challenging year ahead.

"Gradual tweaks give employers the flexibility to decide how much to reward employees because not all sectors and industries performed equally well.

"They also remind employers not to neglect low-wage workers and to be fair to staff, whether they are young or old, professionals or low-wage ones."