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Singapore to expand Progressive Wage Model to more sectors

THE Singapore government will expand the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) to more sectors over time, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Monday.

In doing so, the government will seek to ensure that businesses in those sectors are able to absorb this change.

Also, companies that voluntarily pay progressive wages and provide advancement pathways for lower-income workers will be recognised with a PWM Mark.

This is meant to raise skill levels and to create more and better jobs. Speaking in Parliament, Mr Heng said that in time this should slow down the growth of the foreign workforce in these sectors.

The PWM helps to increase wages of workers as they upgrade their skills and improve their productivity. It has a "four-in-one framework" comprising a career ladder, skills-upgrading ladder, productivity improvement ladder and wage enhancement ladder. The aim is to transform jobs that are traditionally less attractive to locals.

At present the PWM covers Singapore citizens and permanent residents in the cleaning and security sectors, as well as landscape companies on NParks' Landscape Company Register.

The government will be "actively looking" to identify the next few sectors that can use this four-in-one framework, Mr Heng said on Monday.

The government will also look to redesign jobs, raise skill levels, and expand the PWM to benefit more groups of lower-wage workers as soon as conditions allow.

Mr Heng said the expansion of the PWM would lead to higher business costs, which may add to the difficulties of business during this time.

"But Covid-19 has highlighted why it is critical, for long-term survival, for firms to be more manpower-lean, productive, and have jobs that are attractive to our locals.

"We will have to explore solutions, and the government will provide support for the transition," he said.

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