The Singapore National Wages Council (NWC) has issued a proposal to employers in Singapore to give a pay raise of S$60 for all low wage workers. In their proposal, they have also re-defined “low-wage workers” covering anyone who earn S$1,100 a month on a full time basis. Previously, only those who earned S$1,000 and below are considered as “low-wage”.

It is unknown how the NWC arrive to the definition of “low-wage”. In 2013, a survey on poverty by the National University of Singapore (NUS) revealed that a “working poor” is someone who earns less than S$1,920. You may read more findings of the NUS report here.

A typical low-wage worker on S$1,100 a month will take home only S$880 after CPF deductions, well below the “working poor” wage of S$1,920 as defined by NUS.

The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) however voiced their opposition against the S$60 wage growth saying that wage increment is already ahead of productivity growth because productivity growth declined by 0.8% while wages grew 4.9% in 2014.

Photo by Singapore Business Federation
Photo by Singapore Business Federation


The Chief Operating Officer of SBD, Victor Tay said:

“We have seen also in our Singapore Business Federation’s survey that a lot of businesses are facing thinning margins and … many of them are actually making losses now. So I think where this S$60 increment may seem as if it is small in quantum, but actually in proportion to their overall business costs, it has actually become huge, and in certain sectors, we have seen manpower costs in their business costs becoming 50 over per cent or so.”

Do you agree with Victor Tay that S$60 increment is too much for our low-wage workers?