SINGAPORE — The Government of Singapore has accepted the Tripartite Cluster for Food Services (TCF)’s recommendations for the new Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for the food service industry.

According to the PWM, full-time lower-wage workers in the food service industry will receive annual pay hikes for the next three years starting from 2023. The wage hike is part of a government scheme aimed at increasing workers’ wages by upgrading their skills and productivity.

As per the new model, lower-wage food service workers such as waiters and cooks will benefit from a three-year schedule of sustained baseline wage increases of up to 19 per cent from 2023 to 2025. This will cover about 41,000 resident full-time and part-time food services workers.

From 1 March, the minimum gross wages of quick-service workers will be raised to S$1,750, while full-service workers will earn at least $1,850 monthly. The baseline gross wages of both quick-service and full-service workers will be increased by a fixed amount of $165 annually from 1 March 2024, and again from 1 March 2025.

The PWM will apply to full-time and part-time resident employees working in the industry and employed by firms that hire foreign workers on work passes. Employers will have a transitional period of six months to adjust and comply with the new requirements, and tripartite partners will educate them. After this period, employers who do not comply with the PWM requirements may have their work pass privileges suspended.

The new PWM model also comprises a clear career progression pathway for workers and mandatory training requirements for their job roles. The TCF has proposed a career ladder for food service workers to help them earn higher wages, pick up skills and gain the ability to take on more job responsibilities. This includes differentiated tracks for quick-service establishments and full-service establishments, caterers, and central kitchens.

The TCF has also recommended that each food service worker complete at least two Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) training modules relevant to their job role. Employers will have one year from the implementation date of 1 March 2023, to ensure their workers meet the training requirements.

The PWM was introduced in Singapore in 2012, and the food service industry is the seventh sector that the model has been introduced to. The implementation of the Food Services PWM, together with the recently launched Progressive Wage Mark, builds upon the momentum of Progressive Wage moves. Up to 94 per cent of lower-wage workers will be covered by Progressive Wages in 2023.

According to Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad, the PWM resulting in higher business costs will be compensated by consumers.

“As consumers, we have to let our pockets do the talking too… I think most Singaporeans don’t mind paying a bit more if (they) know that it supports our lower-wage workers and keeps them in the job,” he said.

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