Ministry of Manpower (MOM) set to raise salary criteria for Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass holder.
In the ministry’s addendum to the president’s address, the Manpower Minister Josephine Teo highlighted that there is “more slack” in the labour market now due to the impact of the global pandemic – Covid-19. The Singapore’s foreign workforce policies was designed to support the economic growth which in turn create better jobs for Singaporean.
“Adjustment of the salary criteria for work pass holder is a regular calibration, to enable firms to access the manpower they need while ensuring a strong Singapore core,” she said. The previous adjustment to the EP minimum salary for foreign professionals took effect from May 2020. It was raised from S$3,600 to S$3,900 per month.
The most recent change to the minimum salary for S Pass was at January this year. It was raised from S$2,300 to S$2,400.
Mrs Teo noted that, the government has also made policy adjustments to encourage businesses to upgrade their productivity.
Base on the statistic, nearly six in 10 locals in the workforce today are employed in PMET (professional, managerial, executive and technician) jobs. This, she said, is a rate that is among the highest in the world. And for every EP holder out there, there are almost seven locals working in PMET jobs, said Mrs Teo.
She said that even as Singapore continues to stay open to the world to accelerate the country’s recovery, the crisis makes it “all the more important” that employers give fair treatment to Singaporeans.
“They should also seek to achieve greater diversity within their EP and S Pass workforce where practical. We will ensure that employers uphold both the letter and spirit of the Fair Consideration Framework,” she said.
Mrs Teo emphasis that the authorities will examine the retrenchment exercises closely to ensure that they are carried out fairly.
She also made the point that businesses that bring in skills which are in short supply or new networks of opportunity for Singaporeans will always remain welcome. And business needs to invest more effort to develop and strengthen “the Singapore Core”, she said.
“Singaporeans, regardless of age, race, gender, must have a fair chance at job opportunities. While employment rates have risen for mature workers, women and ethnic minorities, we must remain vigilant and build on the gains,” she added.
On the issue of wages, Mrs Teo said that increasing the salaries at the lower end remains a key priority for the ministry.
In sectors such as cleaning, security, and landscaping where the progressive wage model (PWM) has been fully implemented, full-time workers have seen their gross monthly incomes increase by around 30 per cent in the last five years.
This, said Mrs Teo, is much higher than median wages, and the gains are “even larger” when enhancements to Workfare are included.
“In the context of the current downturn and very uncertain outlook for the economy, our overriding objective is to ensure continued employment opportunities for these workers,” she noted.
“Over time, we will expand the PWM to more sectors, in a manner that is practical and ensures we preserve low levels of local unemployment.”
The effort to improve wages at the lower end will require a long-term commitment and new mindsets from employers, service buyers and society, the minister said.
“We may have to pay slightly more for services, so that lower-income workers are able to take on better jobs and earn higher wages.”
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