New National Wages Council 2018 / 2019 Guidelines Introduced
Backed by higher growth in the United States and some emerging markets, global growth is expected to pick up in 2018. However, due to concerns over protectionist actions and trade tensions, there could be negative effects in international trade and global growth.
In Singapore, the economy grew by 3.6 per cent which is an increase from 2.4 per cent in 2016. The nation’s economic outlook remains varied with certain sectors, including electronics and transportation set to grow, while those like construction and offshore engineering are expected to face headwinds. Overall, the economy in Singapore looks set to grow by 2.5 to 3.5 per cent.
As for labour demands, it is expected to be uneven across all sectors, while job opportunities are expected to continue in certain sectors. The National Wages Council (NWC) has urged employers to work closely with sector agencies and unions to adopt Skills Framework as well as set up training committees to drive skills training and career pathways.
By using existing programmes, the NWC has called upon employers to reskill their workers, equip at-risk employees on take on new roles and to be open to mid-career jobseekers. The NWC also reaffirmed the principle that wage increases will need to be sustainable and fair. Built-in wage increases should be given in line with firms’ business prospects, while variable payments should reflect firms’ performance and workers’ contributions.
NWC has called on them to share the gains with workers
As for companies that achieved productivity improvements in 2017, the NWC has called on them to share the gains with workers. The extension of the NWC Credit Scheme to 2020 will help employers manage near term manpower costs – this can be done by retraining, upskilling and sharing productivity gains with employees. The NWC also recommended that employers grant all low-wage workers a built in wage increase in the form of a dollar quantum and percentage and to give low wage workers a higher percentage wage increase.
As for low wage workers, the NWC will review the need for quantitative guidelines. The NWC also recommended that service buyers and providers take into account the experience and performance of outsourced when employment contracts are offered or renewed. Other recommendations by the NWC is for employers to implement flexible work arrangements and family-friendly work place practices to retain back to work women as a valued source of manpower and talent.
The NWC guidelines cover the period from July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019 and the recommendations are applicable to all employees – management, executives, professionals and rank-and-file employees, unionised and non-unionised companies in both public and private sectors. The NWC encourages employers that encounter difficulties in implementing the guidelines to work with the employers’ associations and unions, to address the issues.