Progressive Wage Model (PWM)

Progressive Wage Model (PWM)

Progressive Wage Model (PWM)

Progressive Wage Model (PWM)

The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) helps to increase wages of workers through upgrading skills and improving productivity. Employers must ensure that their Singapore Citizen and Singapore PR workers in the Cleaning and Retail sectors meet the PWM training requirements of attaining at least 1 Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) Statement of Attainment, out of the list of approved WSQ training modules.

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Discover More About Progressive Wage Model (PWM)

The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) is a unique and innovative wage structure implemented in Singapore to address income inequality and uplift the wages of low-income workers in specific sectors. It was introduced in 2012 as part of Singapore's efforts to create a fair and inclusive society while maintaining economic competitiveness. While the PWM was first implemented in the cleaning sector, it has since been expanded to the other six sectors. The PWM is put into practice in phases, with each sector having its own wage and training requirements.

The PWM operates by setting a minimum wage floor for specific low-wage industries, such as cleaning, security, and landscaping. The wage floor is progressive, meaning it is tiered based on a worker's skills, experience, and productivity. It requires employers in the covered sectors to pay their Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (SC/PR) employees at least the prevailing wage for their job role and experience level. This encourages workers to continually upgrade their skills and improve their productivity to earn higher wages.

Key features of the Progressive Wage Model in Singapore include:

  • Tiered Wage Structure: The PWM sets different wage tiers, with higher wages associated with higher skills and experience levels. Workers are encouraged to enhance their skills and move up the wage ladder.
  • Skills and Productivity Uplift: To earn higher wages, workers must undergo training and skills development to increase their productivity. Employers are incentivized to invest in their employees' training.
  • Sector-Specific: The PWM is implemented in specific low-wage sectors, including cleaning, security, and landscaping. It aims to target industries with a history of low wages and improve the livelihoods of workers in these sectors.
  • Mandatory Minimum Wages: In these sectors, employers are required to pay workers at least the PWM wage, which is designed to be a fair wage that covers basic living expenses.
  • Government Support: The government provides support for the implementation of PWM, including subsidies for training and productivity improvements.

The Progressive Wage Model not only improves the income of low-wage workers but also addresses the issue of skill gaps and encourages employers to invest in workforce development. It aligns with Singapore's commitment to creating an inclusive society while maintaining economic growth and competitiveness.

A comprehensive strategy is employed to elevate the earnings of lower-wage workers, encompassing several components. These include the Sectoral Progressive Wage Model (PWM) implemented in seven different industries, the adoption of Occupational Progressive Wages (OPW) for drivers and administrators, the utilization of the Local Qualifying Salary, and the introduction of the PWM Mark.

As of now, the PWM has been successfully rolled out in the following seven sectors:

  • Cleaning
  • Security
  • Landscape maintenance
  • Lift and escalator maintenance
  • Retail
  • Food services
  • Waste management

It also covers Occupational PWs for administrators and drivers, as these roles exist across many sectors.

These initiatives collectively aim to raise wages and improve the working conditions of employees in these sectors.

PWMs Currently in Effect

Sectoral / Occupational PWs PWM requirements took effect from

Cleaning sector

  • Extension to in-house cleaners

1 September 2014

1 September 2022

Security sector

  • Extension to in-house security officers

1 September 2016

1 September 2022

Landscape sector

  • Extension to in-house landscape maintenance employees

30 June 2016

1 September 2022

Lift and escalator sector

1 May 2019

Retail sector

1 September 2022

Food services sector

1 March 2023

Occupational PWs for administrators and drivers

1 March 2023

Waste management sector

1 July 2023

The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) applies to Singaporean citizens and Singapore permanent residents (PRs) employed on either a full-time or part-time basis through a service contract.

For employers hiring foreign workers holding a Work Permit, S Pass, or Employment Pass, they must adhere to the following dual requirements when renewing current work passes or applying for new ones:

  • Comply with PWM criteria for Singaporean employees who fall under the relevant PWM categories.
  • Meet the requirements of the Local Qualifying Salary (LQS) for all other local employees.

The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) in Singapore provides distinct benefits for both employees and employers in low-wage industries:

Benefits for Employees:

Higher Wages: Employees in PWM sectors receive higher minimum wages than they would in non-PWM sectors. This provides them with a better income, allowing them to support themselves and their families more adequately.

  • Career Progression: The PWM's tiered wage structure encourages skill development and career advancement. Workers can move up the wage ladder by effective supervisory skills, gaining experience, and increasing their productivity.
  • Improved Job Security: As employees become more skilled and valuable to their employers, they are likely to enjoy greater job security. Employers are more inclined to retain and invest in skilled workers.
  • Incentives for Skill Development: Workers are motivated to invest in training and skill development to earn higher wages. This not only benefits their current job but also enhances their employability in the broader job market.
  • Reduced Reliance on Government Assistance: Higher wages through the PWM mean that workers are less reliant on social welfare programs and government assistance, leading to greater financial independence.

Benefits for Employers:

  • Improved Workforce Productivity: The PWM encourages employers to invest in training and skills development, which can lead to a more skilled and productive workforce. This, in turn, can enhance the quality of products or services and improve operational efficiency.
  • Compliance with Industry Standards: Many PWM sectors require businesses to adhere to industry standards and best practices to maintain their licenses and certifications. This helps raise the overall quality and standards in these industries.
  • Enhanced Employee Loyalty: As employees see a clear path for career progression and wage growth, they are more likely to be loyal to their employers. This can reduce turnover and associated recruitment and training costs.
  • Positive Employer-Employee Relations: A PWM can lead to better relations between employers and employees, as both parties benefit from a structured and transparent wage system. This can contribute to a harmonious work environment.
  • Attracting and Retaining Talent: Employers that provide opportunities for skill development and wage progression are more likely to attract and retain talent, as employees see their current job as a stepping stone to a better career.
  • Improved Reputation: Businesses operating in PWM sectors are often seen as responsible and ethical employers, which can enhance their reputation among customers and investors.

If your company is part of any of the sectors covered under the Progressive Wage Model, you can easily adopt it by taking the below steps:

  • Know the PWM Standards: Once you've confirmed the sector, thoroughly review the PWM standards specific to that sector. This will give you insights into the minimum wage levels and the essential skills training courses for employees.
  • Evaluate Your Workforce: Next, assess your existing workforce to determine each worker's skill level and whether they meet the minimum wage criteria for their respective skill levels.
  • Create a Skills Training Plan: Based on your assessment, create a comprehensive skills training plan for your employees. This plan may encompass on-the-job training, external training programs, or a blend of both approaches. You can leverage SkillsFuture short courses, classroom training and online training to upskill your employees and help them move up the hierarchy.
  • Financial Review: Carefully examine your budget to ensure that you can meet the minimum monthly wage requirements for your employees at their respective skill levels. Also, review the budget required to upskill your employees. You can either do them in-house if you have the resources or engage an Approved Training Organization (ATO) to help you with it. You may also explore opportunities for government funding or grants to support your PWM implementation.
  • Implementation of PWM: Finally, put the PWM into action within your business. This entails paying your employees at least the minimum monthly wage for their skill levels, delivering the necessary skills training, and monitoring their progress.

Cleaning companies and employers with in-house cleaners are required to adhere to the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) wage and training criteria for Singaporean citizens and permanent residents.

The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for the cleaning sector has been developed by the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC). This initiative falls under the Cleaning Business Licence scheme, overseen by the National Environmental Agency (NEA). Cleaning companies must comply with PWM requirements in order to obtain or renew their licenses.

Starting September 1, 2022, employers hiring foreign workers must also meet PWM requirements for their in-house cleaners.

Who It Covers

The PWM requirements:

  • Are compulsory.
  • Apply to all Singaporean citizens and permanent residents working in outsourced cleaning roles or in-house cleaning positions in companies employing foreign workers.

Employers are strongly encouraged to apply PWM principles to their foreign cleaners by enhancing their skills and introducing wage progression based on productivity.

The progressive wage structure comprises three wage ladders for three main categories of cleaning jobs:

Group Description

  • Group 1 Office and commercial sites (e.g., offices, schools, hospitals, medical clinics, condominiums).
  • Group 2 Food and beverage (F&B) establishments (e.g., hawker centres, food courts, restaurants).
  • Group 3 Conservancy (e.g., town councils, public cleansing).

These categories align with the most common types of cleaning roles and are based on NEA's classification of cleaning sub-sectors under the Enhanced Clean Mark Accreditation Scheme.

Starting from September 1, 2022, in-house cleaners are required to receive at least the specified PWM wages.

Training Requirements

Outsourced Cleaners:

Cleaning companies are responsible for ensuring that their outsourced cleaners meet the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) training requirements. This can be achieved by enrolling cleaners in Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) modules from the approved list.

Please consult the SkillsFuture SG (SSG) training framework specific to the cleaning sector for further information.

In-House Cleaners:

Employers with in-house cleaners should ensure that their cleaning staff fulfill the in-house PWM training requirement, which entails completing either one WSQ course or one in-house training program.

As an employer, you stand to gain from your workers' enhanced productivity and their ability to deliver higher-quality cleaning services.

For more detailed information regarding the training requirements and the list of approved WSQ training modules, please refer to Annex A in the Addendum to the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC) Report.

Companies are required to adhere to the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) wage and training criteria for retail workers who are Singapore citizens or permanent residents.

The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for retail workers has been developed by the Tripartite Cluster for the Retail Industry (TCR). Starting from September 1, 2022, employers must meet the PWM requirements when renewing existing work passes or applying for new work passes.

Who It Covers

The PWM requirements apply to Singaporean citizens and permanent residents who:

  • Work as full-time or part-time employees in retail job roles under a contract of service.
  • Are employed by companies that hire foreign workers, irrespective of whether the company falls under the Retail Trade Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) or another SSIC category.

The retail PWM encompasses the following retail job roles:

  • Cashier
  • Retail Assistant
  • Senior Cashier
  • Senior Retail Assistant
  • Assistant Retail Supervisor
  • Retail Supervisor
  • Retail Manager

Training Requirements

Employers are responsible for ensuring that their Singaporean citizen and permanent resident retail workers meet the training requirements outlined in the retail Progressive Wage Model (PWM). To fulfill these requirements, retail workers must obtain at least one Statement of Attainment from the list of approved Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) training modules.

Alternatively, employers can also use in-house WSQ training modules bearing the prefix "RET" in the accompanying Technical Skills & Competencies (TSC) code to satisfy the training criteria.

Employers will be granted a grace period to comply with the retail PWM training requirements:

  • For new hires: A six-month grace period from the date of the new hire's employment.
  • For existing employees: Until August 31, 2023 (one year from the implementation of the retail PWM on September 1, 2022).

Proper training equips retail workers with the skills needed to enhance their productivity and provide superior retail experiences to customers.

For more comprehensive information on training requirements, please consult Annex C in the report from the Tripartite Cluster for Retail Industry (TCR).

The Progressive Wage Mark (PW Mark) is an accreditation scheme that acknowledges companies that pay progressive wages to lower-wage workers. This accreditation enables both consumers and corporate buyers to easily identify and support firms that prioritize fair wages for their employees.

Why Obtain the PW Mark?

Obtaining the PW Mark offers several benefits:

  • Increased Visibility and Consumer Support: Your company can gain greater visibility and support from consumers who appreciate and prioritize ethical employment practices.
  • Compliance with Government Procurement Requirements: Firms awarded government contracts for tenders called from March 1, 2023, are required to be accredited with the PW Mark for the contract period. This also applies to subcontractors involved in the contract. The requirement will be extended to Government quotations from March 1, 2024.

Who Is Eligible for the PW Mark?

To be eligible for the PW Mark, your company must meet the following criteria:

  • Employ at least one Singaporean or permanent resident worker who falls under the prevailing Sectoral Progressive Wages (PWs) or Occupational PWs.
  • Pay the relevant workers in compliance with the PW requirements, which include Sectoral PWs covering various sectors (e.g., cleaning, security, retail) and Occupational PWs (e.g., administrators, drivers).
  • Ensure that all other local workers receive at least the Local Qualifying Salary (LQS).

PW Mark Plus

If your firm meets the eligibility requirements for the PW Mark and also adopts the Tripartite Standard on Advancing Well-being of Lower-Wage Workers (TS-LWW), your company will be conferred the PW Mark Plus. The TS-LWW outlines progressive workplace practices that provide support for lower-wage workers in areas such as training and career development, workplace safety and health, and rest area provision.

How to Apply

The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) administers the PW Mark. For more information or to apply, visit SBF's website or apply through the GoBusiness portal.

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