To allow local workers to supplement their incomes during the current COVID-19 spread, Singapore companies have been advised to let their workers find a second job.
According to the wage and training guidelines released by the National Wages Council (NWC) on Monday (30 March), companies that implement temporary layoffs, shorter work weeks, or job-sharing arrangement in the current pandemic situation should support their workers who want to get temporary or part-time work with other employers.
Part-time or temporary work outside the firm will assist these workers, who are working less hours, to compensate for their lost income, based on the advisory on second-job arrangements released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) yesterday.
MOM added that in times when there is no work, this part-time or temporary work will “help them mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on their livelihood”.
If there is a conflict in work scheduling or conflict of interest with the worker’s current employer, the worker should clarify and discuss with both employers, MOM stated.
MOM also encouraged companies to assist their workers to resolve conflicts of interest wherever necessary as well as waive any contractual prohibitions against getting a second employment with another company.
Because measures such as pay cuts and reduced work hours to save costs are implemented by the employers, MOM stressed that “employers should be considerate and supportive towards employees’ circumstances during this period”.
With regards to the requirements of both employments, workers should be transparent with their employers as well as making certain that they can handle both jobs without jeopardizing the interests of each of the two employers.
MOM noted that by doing this, downstream disputes over salaries, work schedules, and other employment benefits could be prevented.
In addition to this, the key principles on sharing responsibilities between the first and second employers have also been addressed in MOM’s advisory.
In the event that salaries have to be lowered during the impact of COVID-19 on firms’ bottom line, the NWC suggests that wage cuts should come from the reductions in the Monthly Variable Component (MVC).
In sudden business downturns where the need arises to save jobs and survive, companies can use the MVC as an emergency lever to reduce the wage bill of workers. The MVC forms a part of the basic monthly wage of those workers.
Basic wages may be lowered to an equivalent of 10 per cent or more for management for approximately 90 per cent of companies that do not have MVC. Most of the companies are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).