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Proposed built-in wage increase for lower-income workers

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The National Wages Council (NWC) is urging companies to provide a built-in wage increase for workers earning up to S$1,000 a month.

The council is encouraging bosses to raise low-income workers’ salaries by at least S$60, following its 2012 recommendation for a S$50 built-in increment.

Although only eight in 10 unionised companies and three in 10 of non-unionise companies complied last year, NWC said it was a “good start”.

NWC chairman Professor Lim Pin said this year’s call for a S$60 raise was a decision that has been considered by all parties, Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reported.

“I think that’s the kind of target which we think is a fair target and achievable. On the one hand, we urge the employers to do more. On the other hand, it has to be achievable target and not something wild,” Lim said.

However, the council was quick to advice any wage increments must be in line with productivity gains so organisations can remain sustainable and competitive.

Companies are also encouraged to take into consideration out-sourced service contractors and mature workers when considering a built-in wage increase to ensure they also benefit from the wage recommendations.

“Previously there was no mention of low wage workers and also, a lot of companies would treat the re-employed workers as contract workers and we do know that there are companies that – because they treat them as contract workers, they don’t get the normal wage increases that permanent employees get,” Cham Hui Fong, assistant secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress, said.

CNA reported the government has accepted the recommendations, which will cover the period from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

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