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Update: UOB to use WCS grant for employee development
United Overseas Bank (UOB) will use its S$3.8 million grant from the government's Wage Credit Scheme (WCS) to fund a career development and wellness programme for 3,600 eligible employees.
The decision was announced Wednesday evening, at an employee event held at Suntec City Convention Centre that was attended by some 1,000 people.
The WCS, introduced in Budget 2013, is aimed at assisting companies with retention and rising wage costs. The government had set aside $3.6 billion to co-fund 40 per cent of wage increases given to Singaporean workers earning a gross monthly wage of $4,000 or less.
Instead of putting the WCS funds into additional wage increases, Jenny Wong, head of group human resources, spoke of the importance the bank places on self-improvement.
"We take a long-term approach to nurturing our employees," she said.
The career development programme, called the Wage Credit Employee Development Initiative (WCEDI), will instead give the 3,600 junior executives and unionised employees training credits to be used for professional and personal enrichment courses of their choice. These courses are designed specifically for UOB by the NTUC LearningHub.
The grant will also be used to fund healthcare and wellness options, including dental expenses, gym memberships and traditional Chinese medical treatments.
Ms Wong said: "A healthy employee will be a more productive employee."
This reinvestment of the grant on both career and healthcare fronts comes from the recent push for more productivity in the workplace, she said.
Chan Chun Sing, deputy secretary-general for NTUC, was the guest-of-honour at the launch.
He called UOB an "enlightened employer" for investing in its human capital and "ensuring that (employees') skills are future-ready".
Singapore must remain competitive and attractive to foreign investors, he said.
UOB CEO Wee Ee Cheong in his speech also emphasised productivity and competitiveness.
"We are investing in you because you are the bedrock of the bank," he said, addressing the employees. "You represent our future."