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Reconvened NWC likely to issue updated wage guidelines in September

THE National Wages Council (NWC) says it will reconvene later this month to review its wage guidelines issued in March and will aim to release its updated guidelines in September.

"Given the challenging situation, tripartite leaders have agreed to reconvene the NWC to update its March guidelines on wage and employment-related issues, so as to provide timely and relevant guidance to employers," the Ministry of Manpower says in a press statement on Friday morning.

Says NWC chairman Peter Seah: "In light of the profound impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, companies and especially workers, it is important that the tripartite partners review the challenges posed and make recommendations to respond to the issues. In the past, the NWC with the tripartite partners have provided guidance to mitigate through very challenging times. It is timely now for the NWC to meet again to do so."

This will be only the fourth time since being set up in 1972 that the council will be convened twice in the same year. The previous times came amid major economic crises as well, in 2009, 2001 and 1998.

In the March guidelines, which covered the period from April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, NWC recommended that employers first reduce non-wage costs and consider various measures to utilise and manage excess manpower. It suggested that employers tap government support to offset business and wage costs, as well as to press on with business and workforce transformation so that they are better prepared to grow when the economy recovers.

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