Unemployed PMETs to get wage support under new NTUC scheme

Unemployed PMETs to get wage support under new NTUC scheme

Office workers walk to the train station during evening rush hour in the financial district of Sing
Office workers walk to the train station during evening rush hour in Singapore's financial district. (File photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: Professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who are out of a job will receive help getting back into the workforce and wage support under a new scheme launched by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) on Thursday (Jul 27). 

Named the Returner Work Trial, the scheme provides employment opportunities for local PMETs who have been unemployed for at least two years. 

The scheme is capped at six months, and during this trial period, employers will offer structured on-the-job training for these workers. A training allowance of at least S$2,500 will be paid, and Workforce Singapore will contribute S$1,500 per month while the employer will fork out a minimum of S$1,000 per month. 

Those eligible to apply for the trial are Singapore citizens aged 30 and above, have a degree or diploma or previously held a PMET role, and have been out of work for two years or longer. For companies, they must be registered or incorporated here to register as a participating employer.

NTUC Returner Work Trial briefing
The Returner Work Trial scheme being explained. (Photo: Vanessa Lim) 

Employers are "strongly encouraged" to offer options for flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting, during the trial and upon permanent placement, the press release said. They are also encouraged to offer a permanent position or a contract position of 12 months and above to the PMET at the end of the trial if he or she is deemed suitable.

As an additional incentive, employers get a bonus of S$3,000 if the returning PMET is hired in a permanent or contract position of at least 12 months, and he or she works for three continuous months after the trial. This bonus will be given to the employer at the nine-month mark after the start of the trial, regardless of when the returning worker was placed, NTUC and Workforce Singapore said. 

Mr Desmond Choo, director of industrial relations at NTUC, said reintegrating PMETs who took a break from their career into the workforce will help to meet current and future manpower demand.

"The talent in this pool is immense. Much more can be done to value the contributions and sacrifices made by these professionals, so that they can make a seamless transition back to the workforce," said Mr Choo. 

Since July, 22 companies have come on board the scheme, offering a total of 80 work trial positions. Mr Choo said he expected this number to increase. 

Applications for the scheme will start on Sep 1, and those interested can contact NTUC U Family at returners@ntuc.org.sg.

Infographic of Returner Work Trial
How the Returner Work Trial works. (Infographic: NTUC)

Source: CNA/kk