Model ID: 9be21d70-317e-4e3c-9746-35a41bf3e0a7 Sitecore Context Id: 9be21d70-317e-4e3c-9746-35a41bf3e0a7;

Alternative levers complementing PWM available to prevent wage stagnation: Koh Poh Koon

Dr Koh shares how more senior ranking workers are covered by the guidelines of the National Wages Council should their wage progression not be indicated explicitly in the Progressive Wage Model.
Model ID: 9be21d70-317e-4e3c-9746-35a41bf3e0a7 Sitecore Context Id: 9be21d70-317e-4e3c-9746-35a41bf3e0a7;
By Ian Tan Hanhonn 31 May 2024
SMDN Dialogue 1280.JPG
Model ID: 9be21d70-317e-4e3c-9746-35a41bf3e0a7 Sitecore Context Id: 9be21d70-317e-4e3c-9746-35a41bf3e0a7;

The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) ensures that security officer ranks—typically from entry to mid-career levels—receive a fixed wage increase based on their designation.


For more senior-ranking officers, such as chief security officers, the National Wages Council (NWC) stipulates wage guidelines to ensure workers progress along with their junior-ranking counterparts.


Senior Minister of State for Manpower Koh Poh Koon reiterated this point at a Shin Min Daily News Exclusive Dialogue Session with tripartite representatives on 28 May 2024 held at the Singapore Press Holdings News Centre.


He was responding to a question posed by a chief security officer.


The dialogue was conducted in Mandarin and attended by some 130 participants. NTUC Deputy Secretary-General Desmond Tan and Singapore National Employers Federation Council Member Douglas Foo were part of the dialogue panel.


The chief security officer shared that he was told that officers of his rank will not receive a wage increase under the PWM because no training modules are stipulated for chief security officers, and hence, there is no corresponding wage increase.


“For security officers, senior security officers, security supervisors and senior security supervisors, there are skills [to be attained under the PWM] and an amount [of salary] to be increased. But for chief security officers, it is not stated,” shared the officer.


He then asked if this could be used as an argument for employers not to increase the wages of chief security officers.


In response, Dr Koh said: “Every year, the NWC will deliberate how we should encourage employers to provide bonuses or raise basic wages.”


Dr Koh added that if the different ranks of security officers within the PWM scheme receive a wage increase, the chief security officer should also receive one.


“Perhaps the company is unable to explain this clearly to you. We can invite the union in the security sector to connect with your company and share this situation with them,” said Dr Koh.


Dr Koh also used the session to remind workers that workers can check if their employers are paying them the correct salary based on the PWM and Local Qualifying Salary (LQS) requirements.


Meanwhile, Mr Tan also urged the participants to join NTUC so that its affiliated unions can help represent workers when discussing or negotiating employment issues with their employers.


PWM to address wage stagnation


NTUC first introduced the PWM in 2012 as part of a broader strategy to address wage stagnation and provide a sustainable pathway for income growth.


With a growing concern about the widening income gap of lower-wage workers in the cleaning, security, and landscaping sectors, NTUC proposed the PWM as a framework to link wages to skills, productivity, and career progression.


The PWM aimed to ensure workers receive fair compensation while encouraging continuous skill development and productivity improvements.


Since then, the model has played a crucial role in Singapore's approach to improving the livelihoods of lower-wage workers while helping employers maintain economic competitiveness.


Mr Tan shared how the PWM operates on four main pillars, namely minimum wage benchmarks, training requirements, clear career progression pathways, and productivity standards, and how pillars create a structured environment where workers can progressively improve their skills and earnings.


He said: “NTUC would like to rally for more support from the community to participate actively in these transformative efforts. The ultimate goal is to empower lower-wage workers not just to survive but to thrive in their work, progress professionally, earn more in their jobs, and, importantly, be recognised, respected, and rewarded for their invaluable contributions to society.”


As the representative for employers, Mr Foo said it would take society’s collective effort to ensure that lower-wage workers, who are providing an invaluable service to the nation, are not left behind as Singapore progresses.


He said: “Employers are doing their part. I now hope that consumers can continue to support companies that bear the Progressive Wage Mark so that together, we can all do our part to uplift our lower-wage workers.”