Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 04/25/2014 11:26 | By Channel NewsAsia

Updated wage model recommendations for cleaners adopted

Updated wage model recommendations for cleaners adopted

Updated wage model recommendations for cleaners adopted

SINGAPORE: The Commissioner for Labour has fully adopted the updated Progressive Wage Model (PWM) recommendations issued on Friday by the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC).

From Friday, cleaning companies seeking to be licensed will need to ensure that their submitted progressive wage plans for their resident cleaners follow the TCC's latest PWM.

In a media statement, the Ministry of Manpower also reminds licensed cleaning businesses under the Environmental Public Health (EPH) Amendment Act that they must provide their resident cleaners payslips and employment contracts that state wages in accordance with their progressive wage plans.

Only 70 out of over 900 cleaning firms in Singapore have applied for new licences so far, since the EPH Amendment Act came into force on April 1. It is compulsory for cleaning companies to get the licences before September 1.

The TCC is a tripartite body appointed by the Minister for Manpower and comprises employer, union, government, cleaning industry representatives and cleaning service buyers.

The PWM requirement will be enforced by the Commissioner for Labour based on the guidance provided by the TCC (in its report).

Job definitions of cleaners have been given greater clarity as the mandatory PWM for the sector entered into force on April 1.

The model requires cleaning firms to put into place a tiered-wage structure so pay packets progress as cleaners rise through the ranks.

The greater clarity comes as part of efforts to continually refine the model.

For example, some cleaners have responsibilities that cross several job scopes.

The cleaners will fall under the wage structure for which they spend the majority of their time handling.

"During the initial stage of implementation, we wanted to exercise greater flexibility and leave it up to the service provider to make the call on what they think is majority of the time," said Zainal Sapari, assistant secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

Definitions of various cleaning jobs have also been modified and streamlined.

For instance, "multi-skilled cleaners" and "machine operators" were separate categories, but have been merged into one, reflecting the similarity of job responsibilities.

The move to more clearly define cleaning jobs has been fully adopted by the Commissioner for Labour.

"We have closed a gap -- identify the scope for workers and hopefully it will benefit all the workers, the workers within the band, rather then we split hairs,” said Milton Ng, president of the Environmental Management Association of Singapore.

“It's going to be very difficult to define when you say, ‘oh work four hours -- machine operator' or 'work eight hours, then you are deemed a machine operator’."

The labour movement is also pushing for progress to be made in introducing mandatory progressive wages within the security sector.

A training framework for security officers has been worked out and recommendations for implementing progressive wages in the sector are targeted for release in 2014.  - CNA/nd/ec

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