More help for mid-career workers, unemployed and seniors
Under changes to the Employment Act, monthly salary cap of $4,500 will be removed by April 1
More help is on the cards for Singaporeans - especially mid-career workers, the unemployed and seniors - as the Ministry of Manpower announced policies aimed at strengthening the local workforce as well as bridging some elements of inequality in the workplace.
REVISIONS TO THE EMPLOYMENT ACT
By April 1 next year, the Employment Act (EA) will cover more professionals, managers, executives and technicians, after the monthly salary cap of $4,500 is removed.
This means such workers will be protected in cases of wrongful dismissals and payment disputes.
The EA will also see some targeted expansion to protect more vulnerable workers in Singapore, including those in lower paid jobs such as security and cleaning, in key areas such as their hours of work, overtime pay and rest days.
There will also be an increase in wages for such industries through a Progressive Wage Model, where workers can expect more financial benefits in the future.
Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan said: "With these measures in place, workers will stand to benefit from having higher wages and shorter working hours."
CAREER TRIAL AND SKILLS UPGRADING
Those looking to try out new careers - especially people who have been unemployed for over six months - will get more support.
The Career Trial programme will replace and expand the current Work Trial programme, and will see the maximum monthly training allowance doubled to $2,400.
There will be additional incentive for employers to retain those who are "long-term unemployed" (LTU), or those who have been unemployed for six months or more.
There will be a one-time payout of $500 for employees who stay over three months and an additional $1,000 for those who stay past six months.
For employers, they can expect salary support for such LTUs - 30 per cent of the monthly salary up to $5,400 for each employee for up to six months.
Moreover, there will be a higher salary support, of up to 90 per cent for re-skilling workers who are long-term unemployed, under the Place-and-Train programme.
FOR OLDER WORKERS
Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said the ministry was promoting more companies to make better use of technology to make jobs easier, safer and smarter for mature workers.
Companies will be encouraged to make their jobs age-friendly through the WorkPro Job Redesign Grant, where companies can use the funds to make jobs more accessible and friendly for the elderly, including investing in technology or infrastructure to aid such workers.
Mr Tan said this "will promote inclusive workplaces that meet the specific needs of older workers".
The Government will set aside about $30 million to further promote flexible work arrangements (FWA) through the enhanced WorkPro Work-Life Grant. Employers will be allowed to claim up to $70,000 over two years for each regular user of FWA.
There will also be additional incentive to put job sharing in place, where more than one part-time worker shares the job of a full-time worker and is paid on a pro-rated basis.
There will be changes to the Central Provident Fund policy to allow spouses and children to transfer money to help each other in retirement capability.
Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo said: "These measures will help the current and future cohorts of younger women remain in the workforce and improve their retirement adequacy."
Given the rising number of self-employed persons (SEPs) or freelancers, there is impetus to look into their needs, said Mrs Teo.
There will be efforts to match SEPs with jobs, but for those who want to remain freelance, there will be more protection for them, including an "affordable standalone prolonged medical leave insurance product".