The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) intends to help workers and companies tackle the economic disruptions brought about by the pandemic.
One of the changes will be to adjust foreign workforce policies, including raising the salary criteria for Employment Passes (EP) and S Passes.
EP & S Pass criteria
In the addendum to the President's Address on Aug. 26, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said that this adjustment is in response to the economic disruption caused by Covid-19, resulting in more slack in the labour market.
Currently, the minimum monthly salary for foreign professionals to qualify for an Employment Pass is S$3,900 (with more experienced candidates needing higher salaries).
The raised figure has yet to be stated by MOM, however.
Teo said during the Budget debate earlier this year that the criteria takes reference from salaries of locals with similar experience and seniority, ensuring that EP holders do not undercut local PMET wages.
Nearly six in 10 locals in the workforce today are employed in professional, managerial, executive and technician (PMET) jobs.
For every Employment Pass (EP) holder, there are nearly seven locals employed in PMET roles, MOM said.
Even as we stay open to the world, MOM said that businesses will be required to develop and strengthen their "Singaporean core".
Fairness at work, meaningful employment
The addendum further elaborated on the efforts the ministry intends to undertake in order to ensure fairness and inclusiveness at workplaces, and meaningful employment.
This includes fair hiring and retrenchment practices by ensuring employers uphold the Fair Consideration Framework, and closely examining retrenchment exercises to make sure they are carried out fairly.
Uplifting wages at the lower end also remains a key priority, and the progressive wage model (PWM) will be expanded to more sectors.
There will also be regular reviews of the Workfare and Silver Support, and they will continue to look out for gaps in our social safety nets.
To help persons with disabilities (PwDs), the Enabling Employment Credit (EEC) was introduced as a wage offset scheme to support employers to hire PwDs. Additional wage offsets are also provided for these employers when they hire PwDs who have not been working for at least six months.
The EEC will be available from 2021 to 2025, and will undergo a review by MOM after two years to make any necessary adjustments.
MOM will also aim to entrench more flexible work arrangements and create more "family-friendly" workplace practices, with the current "new normal" brought about by the pandemic.
More jobs and training opportunities for S'poreans
Under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills package introduced earlier this year, the National Jobs Council aims to create 100,000 jobs and skill opportunities for Singaporeans.
Workforce Singapore (WSG) will engage employers to provide heavily subsidised training for employees, and encourage employers to hire by supporting them to host traineeships and attachments, by co-funding the training allowance.
More support will also be provided for employers that favourably consider middle-aged and mature workers.
Top image via Gov.sg/YouTube, MOM/FB