SINGAPORE: More than 40,000 cleaners will receive yearly wage adjustments from 2017 to 2019 for a total increase of S$200 to their basic salary, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) announced on Monday (Dec 12).
This comes after a review of the progressive wage model by the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC), which consulted service buyers and providers covering about 70 per cent of the industry's workforce to come up with its recommendations. The recommendations have been accepted by the Government as part of its mandatory licensing requirements.
The TCC recommended an increase of S$60 in 2017 and 2018, and S$80 in 2019 in basic wage levels across all three cleaning sub-sectors - cleaners employed in office and commercial buildings, food and beverage establishments and conservancy work.
Conservancy cleaners will continue to receive a higher salary to take into account the "relatively tougher job nature of conservancy cleaning", the TCC said in its report.
INCREMENTS, BONUS IN LONGER TERM
According to NTUC, the median basic salary for full-time resident cleaners has increased by 9 per cent a year between 2012 and 2015, while gross wages have risen by 12 per cent a year. As of June 2015, their median basic salary was S$1,100 and gross wages were S$1,200.
However, the industry continues to face manpower challenges such as high turnover despite efforts to raise the standards and image of the sector, it said.
In its latest review, the TCC also recommended a 3 per cent increase to the salary levels from 2020 to 2022 across all three sub-sectors to "ensure that cleaners enjoy sustained wage growth in line with productivity improvements and better service delivery".
The tripartite group said it expected the recommended schedule of increases to help the industry better plan and budget for future cleaning service contracts.
It also recommended that cleaners be paid an annual bonus of two weeks’ basic salary from 2020 for those employed by the same company for at least 12 months.
The annual or bi-annually paid bonus will help employers attract and retain workers, and also help workers save, the labour movement said.
In addition, the TCC encouraged cleaning businesses to adopt minimum-to-maximum wage ratios of at least 1.3 for multi-skilled cleaners and machine operators, who are able to use specialised equipment or machinery, and 1.2 for those in lower job tiers, in order to facilitate increments to better-performing workers.
BUSINESSES HAVE 6 MONTHS TO ADOPT NEW WAGE LEVELS
The industry has a lead time of at least six months to adopt the new wage levels. Cleaning businesses with new service contracts from Jul 1, 2017 will adopt the new wage levels, while those with existing service contracts will have one more year to adjust their cleaners' wages by Jul 1, 2018.
In a joint release on Monday, the Ministry of Manpower, National Environment Agency and Workforce Singapore said the wage increase will benefit more than 40,000 resident cleaners employed by 1,200 cleaning businesses.
When the new wage schedules take effect from Jul 1, 2017, they will similarly take effect for all new Government tenders for cleaning services, the agencies said.
For existing cleaning contracts, the Government will work with contractors to help them transit to the new requirements by the 2018 deadline, they added.
NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Zainal Sapari said the latest enhancements to the progressive wage model for the cleaning industry will help support ongoing efforts to professionalise the sector.
"We strongly encourage service buyers and service providers to work closely together to explore productivity solutions to enhance work processes," Mr Zainal, who is also chairman of the TCC, said.
"We also urge cleaners to constantly upgrade their skills so that they can take on higher value-added jobs in the future.”