Worker outcomes tied to grant funding need not be wage increases: Koh Poh Koon

Janice Heng
Published Wed, Mar 6, 2019 · 03:48 AM
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THE tying of worker outcomes to grant funding will take place via a "flexible engagement" between Enterprise Singapore and firms, and may not necessarily take the form of wage increases, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon told media on Wednesday morning.

He reassured companies that Enterprise Singapore "will take a flexible approach on a one-to-one basis to understand the companies' needs and to help them scope the kind of workers' outcomes that will be relevant for them".

From April 1, 2020, the labour movement's Inclusive Growth Programme - which supports firms with productivity changes, provided the firms share these gains with workers through higher wages - will be merged with the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG). With this move, funding support from the EDG will be contingent on the "fulfilment of worker outcomes".

However, such outcomes are not limited to wage increases, and could also take the form of job redesign to aid older workers, or a more conducive working environment, Dr Koh said on Wednesday at the sidelines of the 14th LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) Supplies for Asian Markets Conference at Sentosa Cove.

The additional requirement of workers' outcomes is aimed at making companies undergo "deep transformation" rather than a superficial one, and ensure that workers are brought along on the transformation journey, said Dr Koh. "Building capability is not about just buying technology, but really building the capacity of the workforce to continue to be able to adopt new technology and new workflows."

Nonetheless, understanding that companies differ in their needs, the demographic profiles of their workers, and their strategic focus, Enterprise Singapore will work with firms to arrive at appropriate worker outcome targets and milestones.

The ministry will be engaging firms and trade associations and chambers through dialogues to get their feedback on the Budget measures, he added.

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