Min wage: The govt has done the right thing

January 9, 2014
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

The Government has decided to introducea licensing regime which will require employers to pay cleaners astarting salary of no less than $1,000. It has done the rightthing.$CUT$

The PAP will not admit that this is akin tosetting a minimum wage, which it has always resisted. Nevertheless it is a positive development for workers in Singaporeespecially those in the low-income groups. The SDP welcomes thepolicy change.

There, however, remain concerns. First, $1,000is still not fair wage. Given that the cost of living in Singapore isone of the highest in the world, a salary of $1,000 is not sufficientfor workers to survive on.

In addition, the entry-levelsalary should be legislated across the board as a national wage lawwhere no Singaporean employee will be allowed to be paid anythingless than the minimum wage. The proposed measure of the licensingregime that will be introduced in Parliament next month leaves outworkers who are not in the cleaning service industry and who arestill not paid a living wage.

Third, the idea to legislate aminimum wage should be made at the hourly level. This will enablepart-time workers to be covered.

The SDP has recommended thatthe minimum wage start at $7 per hour. This will work out to at least$1,232 per month for workers who work the standard full-time of 44hours a week. Under such a plan, part-time workers will also beassured that they are paid no less than the mandated minimum amount.

The SDP calls on the Government to legislate a minimum wagelaw and not handle the important matter of workers’ wages in ahalf-hearted and piecemeal manner like the current proposal.

TheSDP has campaigned for minimum wage for more than a decade because webelieve in investing in our people. We are glad to see the PAPfinally coming round to the idea even though much more needs to bedone.