S’pore cleaners to see their wages increase over 6 years from 2023 as part of a graduated wage model, Singapore News & Top Stories
SINGAPORE – Cleaning workers will see their wages increase every year for six years, after proposals made by a tripartite committee on the cleaning salary scale were accepted by the government on Monday (June 7th).
From 2023 to 2028, the base salaries of Singaporean cleaners and permanent residents at all levels of employment will see an increase year on year. This will benefit around 40,000 cleaners at some 1,500 cleaning companies in Singapore.
For example, the first adjustment in 2023 will see the base salary for general and interior cleaners increase by almost 20%, from $ 1,312 in 2022 to $ 1,570.
This move aims to reduce the income gap between cleaners and other workers. As part of previous updates to the Progressive Salary Model (PWM) in 2016 and 2018, cleaners were expected to achieve annual salary increases of 3 percent from 2020 to 2022.
The pay increases were among new recommendations made by the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC), after conducting another round of reviews of the model.
NTUC Deputy Director General Zainal Sapari, who chairs the TCC, said the latest six-year timetable for salary increases is intended to provide transparency for cleaning companies and service buyers to objectively inform workers. tender contracts.
The schedule “provides greater certainty for service providers and service buyers to price and award cleaning contracts that would be fair to all stakeholders, including our cleaners,” he noted.
Mr Zainal added that there was “no particular formula” as to how the salary increases were calculated. “It’s really based on a wage negotiation where we also did a relative comparison to what workers might get in competing industries.”
TCC also recommended that cleaners be trained in occupational safety and health protocols by the end of 2022, to ensure their personal safety when performing cleaning tasks, especially in light of increased cleaning requests due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Their employers should also send them for one of the Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) modules identified by the TCC – which includes representatives from the labor movement, industry, service buyers and the government. government – for their relevant level of employment.
PWM training guidelines previously required all resident cleaners to earn at least two WSQ certificates by 2022, with no specific month.
With the latest recommendations, cleaners will have until December 2022 to complete both modules.
The Progressive Salary Model, which is a scale that sets the minimum wage and training requirements for workers at different skill levels, has been a mandatory requirement for cleaning companies to be licensed since 2014.
Ms Phyllis Lim, deputy director of NTUC’s U Care Center which supports low-wage workers, told a press briefing on Monday that due to the pandemic, training class sizes have been reduced to meet standards. sound management measures.
“The new schedule is to allow enough time for cleaning companies to comply with the training requirements … by the end of 2022, they should be able to send their cleaners (for the modules).”
The TCC also recommended that beyond 2025, cleaners in lower echelons should take an additional module, while those in higher echelons should take two additional modules.
The list of WSQ training modules has been updated and will be periodically updated to ensure its relevance, he added.
Mr. Tony Chooi, TCC member and chairman of the Singapore Environmental Management Association, acknowledged that the salary increases would increase the cost of cleaning companies.
“This is why we are asking for a two-year lead until 2023, before these salaries come into effect, so that we have time to correctly price our future tenders.
“If the contracts are long term, extending beyond 2023, we will have time to negotiate with our service buyers to see how we can come to a mutually acceptable solution to fund the salary increase,” he said. said Mr. Chooi, who is also the director of BNL Services, a cleaning and environmental service provider.
Mr Zainal also responded to a question on whether the updated PWM will lead to more cleaning jobs being contracted out to foreign workers who are not covered by the model.
He said: “The PWM recommendations target the resident workforce. However, when it comes to foreign workers, we have suggested that the principles of PWM apply when you pay them fairly.
“We don’t think this will lead to a situation where there will be greater dependence on foreign workers, as this industry is run by a quota system and a dependency ratio.”
A dependency rate cap, or quota, is the maximum ratio of foreign workers to the total workforce that a company in a given industry can employ.
Labor MP Mohd Fahmi Aliman, who is also a member of the tripartite working group on low-wage workers and co-chair of the subcommittee to review wages, said: “What (the recommendations) mean for our cleaners, that is, they can continue to expect a higher starting salary and an increase in base salary each year.
“Our cleaners have done an important job and we want to appreciate their contributions to society in keeping Singapore clean and safe.”
The Ministry of Manpower, the National Environment Agency, SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore said in a joint statement released on Monday that the government had accepted the recommendations.
“The CTC’s recommendations for sustained wage increases and improved training will ensure a significant increase in wages and upskilling of cleaners, and develop a more skilled and productive cleaning workforce.
The four agencies reiterated a call for service providers to “accelerate transformation efforts like job redesign”.
He also urged buyers of services to adopt progressive contracting practices and workers to upgrade. “Together, our collective efforts of all of society will raise our low-wage workers.”