Singapore’s progressive wage policies seek to support lower-wage workers such as those in the cleaning industry (Source: Shutterstock)
The past three years spent in the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to our attention just how essential Singapore’s frontline workers are. From the cleaners who sanitise our daily work environment to the retail and food services workers who keep our stores and restaurants running, these occupations were critical roles in the frontline that enabled us to tide through the pandemic.
A whole-of-society movement is needed to uplift lower-wage workers in these sectors and strengthen our social compact. As Singapore makes bigger strides to close the income gap, businesses can support the movement by caring for their own employees and providing them with ways to seek career progression and fair wages.
A crucial step to doing so is by adopting Progressive Wages and being accredited with the Progressive Wage Mark (PW Mark). By applying for the Progressive Wage Mark, companies identify themselves as businesses that pay Progressive Wages to their workers, it enables corporate buyers and individual consumers to easily recognise such businesses and support them with their purchases.
The PW Mark and PW Mark Plus acknowledge the efforts of firms that pay progressive wages to lower-wage employees (Source: Singapore Business Federation)
Administered by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), the PW Mark is testament that you are committed to treating your employees fairly and supporting them to deepen their skills and extend their productive longevity. This enhances your company’s profile and credibility, and can significantly motivate employees, improving job retention and business performance.
Understanding Singapore’s Progressive Wage Model
First introduced in 2012, the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) features progressive wages and a clear progression pathway that facilitates advancement to higher job levels, ensuring that workers are paid wages that reflect their skills and productivity at each level.
By setting out the minimum wage and training requirements for workers at different levels of skill, the PWM gives workers a way to increase their wages by upgrading and improving their skills.
An example of the wage progression plan for the cleaning sector (Source: Ministry of Manpower)
Since implementation, tripartite partners have raised PWM wages at a sustainable pace, allowing workers to map out a clear career pathway for wage progression, along with on-the-job training and improvements in productivity and standards.
For an extensive list of information on specific wage progression plans for each sector, the Ministry of Manpower’s website details the wage and career progression for each occupation and sector.
Over the years, the PWM has expanded to include more sectors. Currently, the PWM covers the cleaning, security, landscape, lift and escalator, and retail sectors. More sectors, such as food services and waste management, are scheduled to be implemented in March and July 2023. Occupational progressive wages for administrators and drivers will also be implemented in March 2023.
How to apply for the PW Mark?
To cement their status as an employer of choice, employers like yourself can now apply for the PW Mark in just three simple steps:
Step 1: Find out whether your business is eligible
The first step to applying for the PW Mark is to find out if your company fits the eligibility criteria.
To be eligible for the PW Mark, businesses must hire at least one local worker covered by the prevailing Sectoral PWs or Occupational PWs that have taken effect.
Businesses must also pay relevant workers according to PW requirements, and pay all other workers who are Singapore citizens or permanent residents at least the Local Qualifying Salary (LQS) of S$1400 per month for full-time employees, and S$9 per hour for part-time employees.
Businesses applying for PW Mark or PW Mark Plus should meet the above eligibility criteria (Source: Singapore Business Federation)
Employers that wish to be conferred the PW Mark Plus will need to adopt the practices within the Tripartite Standard on Advancing Well-being of Lower-Wage Workers (TS-LWW) administered by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) . The TS-LWW guides employers on establishing progressive workplace practices in the areas of training and career development, workplace safety and health, and rest area provision, rendering better workplace support and welfare for lower-wage workers.
Step 2: Update your occupational employment dataset (OED)
Next, prior to submitting the application, companies have to update their occupational and employment details of all their employees through the Occupational Employment Dataset (OED) portal administered by the Ministry of Manpower’s Manpower Research and Statistics Department (MOM MRSD). This information will be used to assess the company’s eligibility for the Progressive Wage Mark or Progressive Wage Mark Plus and facilitate subsequent auto-renewals.
From there on, employers will need to update the OED whenever there are changes to their employees occupational or employment statuses. Should there be no changes, the system will automatically populate the records on your behalf.
Step 3: Apply for the PW Mark on GoBusiness
If your company has met the requirements to apply for the PW Mark, the next step is simple. Applying for the PW Mark is completely free. All you need to do is to log in to the GoBusiness Dashboard as a Business User using your Singpass and company UEN.
Once you’re logged in, select ‘Accreditation’ under the navigation menu, and click on ‘Progressive Wage (PW) Mark’.
The ‘Accreditation’ tab on the Dashboard will lead applicants to the PW Mark application page
The PW Mark application page provides an overview of the PW Mark accreditation and the application process. Read the instructions carefully before clicking on “Apply”.
A summary of PW Mark and the application process are listed clearly on the PW Mark application page
Most of the fields on the application form will already be automatically populated with your business information. All you need to do is to ensure that the details entered are accurate.
Your business information will be pre-populated on the application form
Finally, select the type of accreditation you are applying for before reviewing and submitting the application on the Dashboard. If you are applying for PW Mark Plus, TAFEP will reach out to you on the TS-LWW adoption after you’ve submitted the application.
Select the type of accreditation you are apply for before clicking on ‘Review Form’
You’re all done! Your application is completed in under five minutes. You can also check the progress of your application on the Dashboard under “My Submissions”. The estimated processing time takes about five business days for PW Mark and up to 1.5 months for PW Mark Plus.
Upon awarded, your PW Mark is valid for one year, and the accreditation will be displayed on the GoBusiness Dashboard under ‘My Accreditations’.
Check the progress of your application under ‘My Submissions’ and view your PW Mark under ‘My Accreditations’
Your PW Mark will be automatically renewed every year as long as your business continues to meet the accreditation criteria. You can also retrieve a copy of the digital certificate via the dashboard.
Download a copy of your PW Mark e-certificate to inform your clients that you’ve obtained the accreditation
If you need more information on the PW Mark, you can visit the GoBusiness or Singapore Business Federation websites, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is accurate as at 19 Jan 2023