National Wages Council urges employers to offer structured training to staff; low-income earners’ wages should increase by $50 to $70

Employers should be giving their staff structured training in order to boost productivity growth and maintain the rate at which wages increase, said the National Wages Council (NWC) on Thu (30 May).

The Straits Times reported today (31 May) that companies should increase the monthly salaries of their low-wage workers who earn up to S$1,400 by around $50 to $70, according to the Council.

The Council also recommended a one-off payment of S$200 to S$360 for low-wage workers who are employed by companies that marked productivity growth last year. However, the range is decreased in this year’s recommendation, in comparison to last year’s recommendation of S$300 to S$600.

For low-wage earners whose salaries are more than S$1,400, the NWC suggested a reasonable pay raise and/or a one-off lump-sum payment “based on (their) skills and productivity”.

Elaborating on the reason behind raising the basic wage threshold, the Council said that it is due to the estimated decrease in full-time resident employees earning a basic monthly pay of S$1,300 from 9.2 per cent in 2017 to 7.9 per cent last year, TODAY reported.

The raised threshold will place another 22,000 full-time resident employees under the NWC guidelines, bringing the total number to about 154,000 workers.

Citing faster growth in terms of wages compared to the productivity growth of 2.4 percent, NWC stressed: “Wage growth must be supported by productivity growth,” given that there is little to no improvement in the number of employees who receive structured training over the last ten years.

“All employers should develop a training plan that meets their current and future requirements,” it added.

The Government has accepted NWC’s recommendations, taking into consideration “economic growth prospects, productivity and workforce training trends”, ST reported.

While companies are not legally bound to implement the Council’s guidelines, firms – whether in the public or private sector – are nonetheless encouraged to take up said guidelines.