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Wages in private sector rose 5.3% last year: MOM

More companies took up NWC recommendations on low-wage earners and flexible wage components, according to ministry's Report on Wage Practices for 2013.

SINGAPORE: Improving economic conditions and a tightening labour market saw employers give higher wage increases in 2013, with total wages in the private sector including employer CPF contributions up by 5.3 per cent last year - up from the 4.2 per cent increase seen in 2012, the Manpower Ministry said on Thursday (June 5).

Real total wages rose by 2.9 per cent in 2013, in part thanks to easing inflation, an improvement from the 0.4 per cent decline the year before, said the MOM in a press statement on the "Report on Wage Practices, 2013", released by its Research and Statistics Department.

Much attention was paid to low-wage earners, in line with the National Wages Council's recommendation to give a built-in wage increase to those earning up to S$1,000, the MOM said.

As of last December, 77 per cent of private establishments gave or intended to give workers in this category a wage increase, up from 60 per cent in 2012. More than half - 57 per cent - of firms gave an increase of at least S$60, as recommended by the council. This marked a significant increase from the 28 per cent that gave the recommended S$50 increment in 2012, the ministry said.

The MOM also noted an uptrend in the implementation of flexible wage measures. As of last December, 86 per cent of employees in the private sector worked in establishments which had some flexible wage components, the most widely adopted of which included having a narrow maximum-minimum salary ratio, linking variable bonus to Key Performance Indicators and having a Monthly Variable Component in the wage structure.

Commenting on the report, the Labour Movement noted that the basic wage increases for rank-and-file workers at 5.1 per cent, have surpassed that for non rank-and-file at 4.7 per cent.

"This goes to show that our push to help the lower 20th percentile is reaping some results. We need to continue this push and build on the momentum," said Ms Cham Hui Fong, Assistant Secretary-General to the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). 

"To ensure wage growth is sustainable and progressive, the Labour Movement will be relentless in our push for Progressive Wage Model (PWM) to be pervasive in all sectors and for all workers. This will not only raise productivity and upgrade skills, our workers can also look forward to better wages and better career progression."

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