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Quick Take: SBF welcomes further MOM support for PMEs, adds cautionary note

THE Singapore Business Federation (SBF) said it welcomes the measures announced by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Wednesday, aimed at enhancing support for Singaporean professionals, managers and executives (PMEs).

Still, it cautioned against measures that could potentially add "further rigidity to the labour market" and hit Singapore's overall competitiveness.

Said SBF: "There have already been many shifts in our labour policies and further adjustments are closely scrutinised by businesses if they would affect Singapore's position as a leading business hub with pro-business policies and a flexible labour market that is open to global talent."

Nevertheless, SBF commended the government's efforts, especially given the backdrop of a tight labour market. It said it welcomes the change where MOM gives relevance to pertinent work experience when assessing work pass applications.

It added: "We note that MOM has been judicious in enforcing the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) commitments and will not be imposing significant additional requirements for most companies that are committed to the FCF. In addition, the Career Support Programme (CSP) will facilitate businesses' ability to tap on mature PMEs as a valuable source of manpower, given the wealth of experience that they bring to the workplace."

Under the CSP, employers will be given wage support if they employ mature workers, who have been looking for jobs for at least six months, in mid-level jobs that pay at least S$4,000.

While he welcomed the move, SBF chairman S S Teo also took pains to stress that neither firms nor mature PMEs should should view the CSP as permanent wage support.

"The programme is just a temporary provision to facilitate the transition for both sides. The desired outcome is that the mature PMEs should continue to be employed by the same employer after this transition arrangement has lapsed," said Mr Teo.