Worker cleaning the Helix bridge in front of Singapore downtown from

Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced on Monday that the Government has considered and accepted the recommendations contained in the report of the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC) dated December 2016 on the enhancements to the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for the cleaning sector.

The TCC comprises representatives from the Government, unions, cleaning service providers and buyers.

The TCC recommended an increase of S$60 in 2017 and 2018, and S$80 in 2019 in basic wage levels across all three cleaning sub-sectors – cleaners employed in office and commercial buildings, food and beverage establishments and conservancy work.

The PWM enhancements will benefit over 40,000 resident cleaners who are employed by more than 1,200 cleaning businesses based on data of licensed cleaning businesses and their employees as at 30 September 2016.

The Government notes that the TCC’s recommendations are an important enhancement over the original recommendations published in 2012. The recommended PWM wage schedules comprising annual adjustments to the PWM basic wage over the next 6 years and the inclusion of an annual bonus for cleaners from 2020 onwards will improve the overall remuneration package for cleaners and ensure they experience sustained wage growth.

Setting out in advance the PWM adjustments over the next 6 years will also provide cleaning businesses and service buyers greater certainty when planning for future cleaning contracts.

The Government said that it also supports the TCC’s recommendation to encourage employers to pay increments to better performing, more experienced and productive workers, above the PWM wage levels, and subject to min-max ratios as recommended by the TCC.

It also said that paying resident cleaners progressive wages stipulated under the PWM is an existing condition under the licensing regime for general cleaning businesses today.

The TCC’s latest recommendations on the annual adjustments to the PWM will likewise be implemented for all licensed cleaning businesses via an Order by the Commissioner for Labour.

As recommended by the TCC, the Government stated that it agrees to provide a lead time of at least 6 months for the industry to adopt the new PWM wage schedules.

  • From 1 July 2017, the Commissioner for Labour will enforce the relevant PWM wage schedules for resident cleaners under all new contracts that take effect from 1 July 2017.
  • For existing contracts that take effect before 1 July 2017, cleaning businesses are given until 1 July 2018 to comply with the relevant PWM wage schedules.

National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) stated that the median basic salary for full-time resident cleaners has increased by 9 per cent a year between 2012 and 2015, while gross wages have risen by 12 per cent a year. While, their median basic salary was S$1,100 and gross wages were S$1,200 as of June 2015.

It said that however, the industry continues to face manpower challenges such as high turnover despite efforts to raise the standards and image of the sector.

The TCC also recommended a 3 per cent increase to the salary levels from 2020 to 2022 across all three sub-sectors in its latest review to ensure that cleaners enjoy sustained wage growth in line with productivity improvements and better service delivery.

Another recommendation is to pay an annual bonus of two weeks’ basic salary from 2020 for those employed by the same company for at least 12 months, which hopefully will help employers attract and retain workers, and also help workers save.

The TCC also encouraged cleaning businesses to adopt minimum-to-maximum wage ratios of at least 1.3 for multi-skilled cleaners and machine operators, who are able to use specialised equipment or machinery, and 1.2 for those in lower job tiers, in order to facilitate increments to better-performing workers.

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