Table of Contents
Security and External Relations
Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
MOM’s mission is to bring about a globally competitive workforce and great workplace, for inclusive growth and a secure economic future for all Singaporeans. A total budget of $963.6 million1 has been allocated to MOM in FY2012 to achieve MOM’s mission.
MOM aims to achieve the following outcomes:
- A Globally Competitive Workforce;
- Financial Security and Lifelong Employability for Singaporeans; and
- Progressive Workplaces.
Globally Competitive Workforce
MOM strives to develop a dynamic, flexible and productive workforce. This will ensure that the workforce remains relevant and competitive to support sustainable and inclusive economic development for Singapore. $257.1 million will be spent on developing a globally competitive workforce. This constitutes 27% of MOM’s budget.
To achieve this outcome, we will be undertaking the following key initiatives and programmes:
- Enhancing the Continuing Education and Training (CET) system
Faced with a significantly tighter labour market, sustaining our economic growth must be driven by higher skills and innovation with productivity as the basis for higher incomes for Singaporeans. Effective and relevant CET will be of utmost importance to ensure that our workers are able to re-skill and up-skill.
In the coming year, the Government will enhance training support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by further raising course fee and other subsidies to encourage greater training participation. This will be applicable for all courses certified by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), and for academic Continuing Education and Training (CET) programmes at the polytechnics and the Institutes of Technical Education. Course fee subsidies will be enhanced to 90%, while the absentee payroll cap will be increased from $4.50 an hour to $7.50 an hour. This scheme will run for three years.
In addition, WDA will work with relevant economic agencies and associated organisations such as the Media Development Authority and the National Taxi Association so that self-employed persons such as freelancers in the creative sector and taxi-drivers can benefit from the enhanced training support through targeted programmes.
Continued emphasis will also be placed on raising the quality of CET professionals and training providers to ensure that they deliver positive training outcomes, and enhancing training support for Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs), as well as other vulnerable segments of the workforce, in seeking upgrading and employment opportunities through employment facilitation.
- Managing a complementary and sustainable foreign workforce
A complementary and sustainable foreign workforce is integral to support Singapore’s economic growth and create good jobs for Singaporeans. While we continue to remain open to augment our local workforce, our limited land and resources do not allow us to have unrestrained growth of foreign manpower. We need to reduce our reliance on low-skilled low-cost foreign workers, which reduces the incentive for companies to invest in productivity improvements and upgrade the skills of their workers.
To moderate the demand for foreign manpower and to support the strategic shift towards productivity-driven growth, we will be introducing some additional measures, which will be phased-in from July 2012 to July 2013. They include a calibrated reduction of Dependency Ratio Ceilings (DRCs) in the Manufacturing and Services Sectors, as well as the S Pass sub-DRC in all sectors. In addition, Foreign Worker Levies (FWL) will also be raised for basic skilled Work Permit holders outside the Man-Year-Entitlement (MYE) waiver category, for the Construction Sector.
As we continue to tighten our foreign workforce controls, it is equally important for us to maintain the integrity of our work pass framework. We will be amending the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) to keep pace with the changing landscape and modus operandi of errant employers, so as to ensure accountability and to maintain sufficient deterrence. Enforcement efforts will also be stepped up.
Financial Security & Lifelong Employability for Singaporeans
MOM aims to foster lifelong employability, help our citizens build up their retirement adequacy and improve the income security of low-wage workers to bring about inclusive growth for all Singaporeans. In FY2012, $450.5 million will go towards enhancing financial security and lifelong employability for Singaporeans. This constitutes 47% of MOM’s budget.
To achieve this outcome, MOM will focus on the following key initiatives and programmes:
- Uplifting our vulnerable workers to foster inclusive growth
As we pursue productivity-led growth, we must ensure that growth remains inclusive. Broadly, MOM aims to help low-wage workers achieve financial security, good jobs and better incomes, and good employment conditions.
MOM will be reviewing the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme and the Workfare Training Support (WTS) Scheme to help low-wage workers achieve income growth and financial security. We will also be focusing on ensuring compliance with the CPF and Employment Acts through a combination of enforcement and education efforts. This will ensure that low-wage workers can come under the CPF net, benefit from government assistance channelled through the CPF system, and also enjoy good employment standards.
The government will also be taking the lead in promoting best sourcing practices to help uplift low-wage outsourced workers, such as those working in the cleaning and security sectors.
- Ensuring lifelong employability and retirement adequacy
With Singaporeans living longer and staying healthier, we need to provide opportunities for them to work longer. Following the enactment of the Retirement and Re-employment Act on 1 January 2012, we will be strengthening our understanding of the barriers to work, and to assist companies in putting in place good workplace practices to allow employees to work longer and older workers to remain productive.
While we help Singaporeans work longer, we also need to help them to better prepare for retirement by enhancing our CPF schemes. The Government will be helping older workers grow their retirement savings by raising their employer and employee CPF contribution rates from September 2012.
In addition, we will also be refining the CPF LIFE options to simplify the choices for CPF members. Specifically, we will combine the strengths of existing popular plans—the Plus and Balanced Plans—into a new option called the Standard Plan, and do away with the Income Plan. This will make it simpler for members while still ensuring flexibility to give them a peace of mind with a constant stream of income in old age. We will also be helping older Singaporeans unlock wealth from their homes with a Silver Housing Bonus and by enhancing the Lease Buyback Scheme.
To provide more support and incentives to employers to hire older Singaporeans, the Government will also be enhancing the Special Employment Credit. The enhanced SEC will be given to employers of Singaporeans aged above 50 and earning up to $4,000 per month.
MOM works closely with the various stakeholders including the tripartite partners and industry to engender safer and healthier workplaces, maintain harmonious industrial relations, enhance employment standards and human resources practices, as well as better manage our foreign workforce. $115.0 million will be set aside to build progressive workplaces. This constitutes 12% of MOM’s budget.
To achieve this outcome, MOM will focus on the following key initiatives and programmes:
- Improving employment and safety standards and ensuring better compliance
To ensure basic well-being and protection for workers, awareness of basic employment and safety standards would continue to be raised. On the safety front, one of our priorities for FY2012 will be to ensure the safety of employees working at height. We will explore the use of regulations to enhance our capability to enforce basic work at heights practices and will continue to educate and engage industry, especially smaller companies, on work at heights safety. We will also work on ensuring that our employment laws remain effective and relevant for the changing local workforce profile through a review of the Employment Act and promoting awareness of basic employment standards.
We will also need to ensure that the well-being of the foreign workforce is adequately taken care of. Through a combination of engagement and outreach and pro-active enforcement, we will continue to heighten our efforts in ensuring basic well-being standards. We will also be implementing changes to our existing foreign domestic worker (FDW) policies to improve their well-being and to reduce management problems.
- Promoting fair and progressive workplace practices
Attracting and retaining valued employees is imperative to sustain companies’ growth. It is therefore important for companies to adopt fair and progressive workplace practices so as to enhance and sustain workers’ productivity and their business competitiveness. To this end, we will be working with TAFEP and our tripartite partners to build up our knowledge and facilitate the adoption of fair and progressive practices by companies, especially SMEs. We will also leverage the work of the Human Capital Leadership Institute to raise management and HR capabilities through education, research and engagement.
- Ensuring coherence with international labour practices and safeguarding our national interests
We will, in the next year, take a more pro-active approach in managing our international relations so as to safeguard our national interests. In particular, we will be working with the Ministry of Home Affairs to spearhead the work of an inter-agency Trafficking-in-Persons taskforce that aims at strengthening our capabilities to combat trafficking activities, and enhancing protection and care for identified victims.
To find out more about MOM and our initiatives, please feel free to visit our website.1 This includes $141.1 million that has been allocated for Corporate Services and Information and Communications Technologies to support MOM’s business needs.