SINGAPORE: Low-wage workers will receive improved training support under a new workfare scheme in a bid to boost their career mobility, Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad announced in Parliament on Tuesday (Mar 3).
From July 2020, the Workfare Skills Support (WSS) Scheme – which replaces the Workfare Training Support Scheme - will be introduced as part of efforts to help low wage workers upgrade their skills and boost their career mobility.
The qualifying income cap for the new scheme will be S$2,300 a month, S$300 more than its predecessor.
Workforce Singapore (WSG) will increase self-sponsored trainees’ training allowances from S$4.50 to S$6 per hour to “better recognise opportunity costs as incomes have risen over time”, the agency said in its press release.
The Training Commitment Award (TCA) for Full Qualifications (FQ) has been raised from S$200 to S$500, while the annual TCA cap will also be upped from S$400 to S$1,000.
The TCA is a cash incentive for individuals who complete training programmes that lead to full qualifications under the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications, or WSQ, and Academic CET Qualifications systems.
“This is because we have found that those who acquire full qualifications are more likely to earn higher wages,” said Mr Zaqy.
To further accelerate the provision of rest areas in other workplaces, MOM will launch a new Workcare Grant later this year, with plans to legislate it in the future.
“We want to promote a culture of care,” said Mr Zaqy. ”It is important to uphold our workers’ dignity, and to support them by giving them the respect they deserve.”
This comes after the launch in December of the Tripartite Advisory (TA) on Provision of Rest Areas for Outsourced Workers.
West Coast and Ang Mo Kio Town Councils have partnered MOM to spruce up 20 rest areas for their outsourced cleaners, Mr Zaqy announced.
All public agencies and town councils have also committed to adhere to the tripartite advisory by the end of the year, he said.
The National Environment Agency has worked with its cleaning contractors to provide lockers in 10 hawker centres, and will do so for the remaining 16 government-run centres by end-2020, while NTUC Foodfare will also provide lockers in all 12 food courts by the end of this year, Mr Zaqy added.
TOP UPS FOR FREELANCERS
In her committee of supply speech, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said that this year, the government will match dollar-for-dollar - capped at S$600 - the contributions made by self-employed persons (SEPs) into their Medisave account.
Last year, the government piloted the Contribute-as-you-Earn (CAYE) scheme, in which self-employed persons who provide services to public sector agencies will have to contribute part of their pay to their MediSave accounts.
About 3,000 self-employed persons are expected to make CAYE contributions each year, Mrs Teo said. Around 400 of them made CAYE contributions in January.
Mrs Teo also introduced a new S$36 million self-employed persons training Support scheme. Over the next three months, self-employed persons will be paid an hourly training allowance of S$7.50 when they attend courses under the SkillsFuture series, or selected sector-specific training programmes.
There is no cap to how much training self-employed persons can sign up for under the scheme, which will be administered by NTUC.