Tray Return Ambassador now a thing in S'pore

They have materialised.

Belmont Lay | September 04, 2021, 04:14 AM

There are many things you can be in Singapore, and a tray return ambassador is now one of them.

A photo of an actual tray return ambassador in a proper red outfit was put up on Facebook on Sep. 1, 2021.

The caption of the post admonished diners at hawker centres to remember to return their trays, as well as used crockery and cutlery after meals, or else, face a S$300 fine.

The attire of the TRA is the same as a SDA -- safe distancing ambassador: A red top with the designation emblazoned in white at the back.

What is a tray return ambassador supposed to do?

According to the National Environment Agency, tray return ambassadors at hawker centres currently have a broader range of roles than cleaners.

TRAs do not do actual cleaning, but ensure safe distancing measures are observed, encourage and remind diners to return their used crockery and cutlery after meals, and help to ensure clean tables and safe hawker centres.

They may also be required to work at more than one location.

How much are TRAs paid?

The latest listing that was opened on June 14 and closed on July 14 this year listed the salary range of a tray return ambassador as between SS1,400 to S$2,200 per month.

A total of 116 applications were received for this role at this particular pay range.

The base salary for a cleaner in Singapore is currently S$1,274.

NEA previously said it does not stipulate the monthly salary offered to tray return ambassadors.

NEA puts up tenders, and the salary amount is determined by the vendor.

Need to talk a lot

It was also previously reported that it appears the role of a TRA is a highly communicative one that involves a lot of talking and instructing.

This is contrary to the first impressions that the role involves returning trays and making sure hawker centres are neat and tidy with little to no spillage or waste left over on tables and chairs.

What are the current rules?

Hawker centres

It is mandatory for diners to return their trays and clear their table of litter in hawker centres from June 1, 2021.

No enforcement action was taken until after Aug. 31, 2021 to help diners adjust.

Enforcement action has since kicked in starting Sep. 1, 2021.

Food courts and coffee shops

Diners at food courts and coffee shops who do not clear their tables will face fines from Jan. 1, 2022.

The two-month advisory period at food courts and coffee shops will last from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021.

What are the penalties?

First-time offenders will receive written warnings and second-time offenders face a composition fine of S$300.

Subsequent offenders may face court fines.

Top photos via Anuwar Kodori & NEA