SINGAPORE: Companies can now tap grants of up to S$8,000 to provide new rest areas for their outsourced cleaners or security officers.
Under the Workcare Grant launched on Friday (May 14), eligible companies can get funding support of up to 80 per cent of costs incurred from creating a new rest area, capped at S$8,000.
The funding provided to improve an existing rest area is capped at S$3,000.
The S$1 million Workcare Grant is expected to benefit more than 2,000 outsourced essential services workers such as cleaners and security officers, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a media release.
“I think all of us recognise that many of our lower-wage workers perform essential services, and they are valued members of our community. And so in terms of how we uplift them, the Government has taken a holistic approach,” said Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo, speaking to journalists on Zoom.
She urged service buyers and building owners to take up the grant.
“This is something that can be done," said Mrs Teo.
"It is not very complicated, it takes a little bit of effort on the part of the service providers, and so our call to them is to ask that they respond positively to this movement where we all do our part to show concern for essential services workers. Let them know that they are valued members of the community.”
The grant follows a pilot study conducted by MOM to test out ways to improve rest areas for outsourced cleaners.
The study identified some “low-cost” and “easy-to-implement” measures for service buyers and providers to improve rest areas for outsourced employees.
These include providing secure lockers to store personal belongings safely and allowing workers to customise their rest areas to instil a sense of belonging.
Other measures include showcasing the work and efforts of workers to build a connection between them and the residents or tenants, as well as creating opportunities for residents or tenants to appreciate the contribution of workers, said MOM.
“Many of us see cleaners, security officers, sometimes taking their meals in staircase landings, it’s really quite sad,” said Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad.
“We want to uplift them and ensure that they are given proper conditions, proper areas of rest. And we want to encourage as many building owners, service providers to work with us through the alliances that they’re working with now,” he said, adding that it is heartening to see NGOs and other organisations working together to create new ideas to improve rest areas.
“I think COVID-19 has also shown how important our essential workers have been to not just the economy, but the many of us in society, supporting us in many unseen works such as cleaning, security," said Mr Zaqy.
"And I think it is right for us as a society to be inclusive, to bring them along with us, and hopefully we can be fairer and more inclusive in the way we treat our lower-wage workers.”