SINGAPORE: Cleaners will have to undergo a mandatory Workplace Safety & Health course from 2022 to make sure they are aware of and take precautionary measures against occupational risks such as slips and falls.
Besides the compulsory safety course, cleaners will also have to sign up for a second Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) module validated and endorsed by the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC).
These modules include the handling of cleaning chemicals as well as how to clean furniture and furnishings.
These initiatives, which were put forth by the TCC and come under the Progressive Wage Model framework, were accepted by the Government on Wednesday (Dec 3).
The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) is a wage progression pathway that helps to increase workers’ pay through skills upgrade and improved productivity. It is applied to the cleaning, security and landscape sectors, while the model was mandated for lift technicians last year.
READ: Government accepts recommendations for progressive wage model, clearer career pathways for lift industry
These measures will “ensure that the cleaning workforce continues to stay relevant, and is well equipped and ready for business transformation”, according to a joint press statement from SkillsFuture Singapore, Workforce Singapore, Ministry of Manpower and the National Environment Agency.
“The enhancements on training will provide cleaners with the knowledge and skills needed to carry out their work safely, and upgrade their skills to improve productivity and service delivery,” they said.
Apart from measures to upskill cleaners, a new job role called "Restroom Cleaners" will be included in the PWM wage ladder from July 2021. Their wages will be pegged to those of healthcare cleaners’ at S$1,486, up from the S$1,274 general and indoor cleaners get.
This is to recognise “the hardships experienced by workers who perform restroom/toilet cleaning and to help encourage recruitment and retention of such workers”, the TCC said.
The recommendations are expected to benefit more than 39,000 resident cleaners employed by over 1,200 cleaning businesses, the government said.
“The Environmental Services industry is evolving into a sustainable and professional industry,” said TCC chairman and NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Zainal Sapari.
“At the heart of this transformation is our cleaners, who should be adequately supported as they embrace new technology, methods and work processes.”
During his visit to cleaning company Sun City Maintenance, NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng said the updates to the progressive wage model will not only increase workers' salaries, but also help companies do better in an "increasingly disrupted" economy.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story stated that a new job role called "Restroom Cleaners" will be included in the PWM wage ladder from July 2020. The correct timeline is July 2021. We apologise for the error.