Retail workers to see wages rise up to 8.5% under Progressive Wage Model from Sep 1

Tessa Oh
Published Mon, Aug 15, 2022 · 01:00 PM

THOUSANDS of retail workers in Singapore will see their monthly baseline salaries rise by between 8.4 and 8.5 per cent each year over the next 3 years from Sep 1, after tripartite recommendations were accepted by the government on Monday (Aug 15).

The wage increases come under the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) — a ladder that sets out minimum pay and training requirements for workers at different skill levels. The changes will take effect from Sep 1, 2022, to Aug 31, 2025, and apply to those working in the 3 lowest job rungs as defined by the Tripartite Cluster for Retail Industry.

“This is a landmark PWM and we are heartened that the tripartite movement has continued to push for breakthroughs with the PWM,” said Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad at a late afternoon media interview.

This will see over 46,000 full-time and part-time resident retail workers getting higher gross monthly wages, of whom about 19,000 are local lower-wage workers, making it the largest PWM that the government has launched, said Zaqy.

The latest move is part of a broader set of progressive wage requirements that will take effect from next month, including the new Local Qualifying Salary rules and the extension of the PWM to in-house cleaners, security officers and landscape workers, said Zaqy.

“Certainly, we have another milestone in Mar 1 next year, to which you can look forward to the food services PWM, the Progressive Wage Mark and other moves which were outlined in our recommendations,” he said.


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“These, put together, (show) the government’s commitment... (to) a refreshed social compact, making sure that our low-wage workers continue to be supported by the government through our tripartite partners, as well as government schemes, which not just uplift their wages, but also work towards how employers can support them sustainably in the long term.”

The decision to base the PWM on gross wages, rather than basic wages, was to give firms more flexibility to structure the workers’ wages based on their specific needs, said the tripartite cluster during a media briefing on Monday morning.

That way, firms can include other variable components such as allowances commissions and regular cash payments to meet the required retail PWM monthly gross wage. Separate gross wage requirements will apply for overtime work.

Similarly, the tripartite cluster proposed for the authorities to use the average wages of a worker over a 3-month period to assess whether an employer has met the PWM requirements. This arrangement accounts for seasonal fluctuations in the industry, so that employers are allowed some flexibility while ensuring fair wages for retail workers.

Employers will be given a 6-month “run-in period”, where no enforcement action will be taken against those who fail to comply with the new wage requirements. This will give employers sufficient time to adjust to the new moves. Thereafter, employers who fail to meet the new requirements could have their work pass privileges suspended.

Aside from the wage increases, the tripartite cluster has also mapped out 5 clear job roles under the PWM to provide a progression pathway for workers in the industry.

At the lowest level is the retail assistant or cashier, followed by senior retail assistant or senior cashier; assistant retail supervisor; retail supervisor; and lastly, retail manager. These will be reviewed periodically to account for changes in the retail industry due to business and workforce transformation.

The tripartite cluster has also recommended that the industry set minimum training requirements to ensure that retail workers continuously upgrade their skills.

For a start, workers under the 5 PWM job roles will be required to take one Workforce Skills Qualification training module to meet the minimum requirements.

Speaking at an event, labour chief Ng Chee Meng said: “The NTUC (National Trades Union Congress) will continue to listen out for the needs of our workers, and through our Every Worker Matters conversations, we want to get a better sense of the different moods and not just angle for the next 3 years, but for win-win possibilities between our employers and workers in the longer term,” he said.



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