Table of Contents
Security and External Relations
Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
The Ministry of Manpower’s mission is to achieve a globally competitive workforce and great workplace, for a cohesive society and a secure economic future for all Singaporeans. A total budget of $1,046 million1 (inclusive of $123.8 million from the Lifelong Learning Endowment Fund) has been allocated to MOM in FY2011 to achieve its mission.
MOM aims to achieve the following outcomes:
A Globally Competitive Workforce;
Financial Security and Lifelong Employability for Singaporeans; and
Globally Competitive Workforce
MOM strives to develop a dynamic, flexible and productive workforce. This will ensure that the workforce remains relevant and competitive to support a shift towards sustainable and inclusive economic development for Singapore. $340.9 million will be spent on developing a globally competitive workforce. This constitutes 33% of MOM’s budget.
To achieve this outcome, we will be undertaking the following key initiatives and programmes:
Enhancing Workforce Competitiveness Through Continuing Education and Training (CET)
To support the Government’s target of two to three per cent productivity growth per annum over the next decade, MOM will support the National Productivity and Continuing Education Council (NPCEC) in driving productivity growth and develop a first-class, national CET system.
Our CET system has traditionally provided strong support for rank-and-file workers. We will continue to do so but we also need to expand and increase our attention on Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs), who now form over half of our resident workforce and will continue to increase. In the coming year, MOM will introduce a new comprehensive programme for PMETs, the Skills Training for Excellence Programme (STEP), to provide a sharper focus for our efforts to develop T-shaped PMETs. First, STEP will allow PMETs to deepen their industry and occupational specific skills so they can be more proficient in their jobs. Second, STEP will allow PMETs to broaden their skills by developing relevant horizontal skills in areas such as management and human resource. Third, there will be courses for PMETs to refresh their skills and update their knowledge to stay abreast with new trends and developments in their sectors. Lastly, STEP will develop a talent and leadership core for key industries through scholarships and customised training roadmaps for PMETs in various sectors.
To encourage Singaporeans to complete a full CET qualification which will equip them with a more comprehensive repertoire of skills, we will introduce a CET Qualification Award. From 1 March 2011, Singaporeans who complete their first WSQ Diploma will receive $1,000 and those who complete their first WSQ Certificate will receive $200.
As we grow and expand our CET system, we need to raise the quality of Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) training providers and programmes to deliver positive training outcomes. From 1 April 2011, we will introduce mandatory qualification requirements for trainers, assessors and curriculum developers engaged by WSQ training providers. Another key milestone in our CET system is the two national CET campuses. When ready by end- 2013, they will deliver 150,000 training places and train up to 50,000 workers annually. We will also continue to adopt a targeted, sectoral approach to help industries address their unique workforce challenges. These efforts will further enhance our CET system, and foster a culture of lifelong learning among Singaporeans.
Optimising the Foreign Workforce and Continued Attraction of Talent
While we will need to augment our local workforce with higher quality foreign manpower who can provide skills and entrepreneurial energy to support sustainable growth, we must simultaneously reduce our dependence on low wage and low skilled foreign workers. MOM will continue to adjust the entry criteria and foreign worker levies to spur labour productivity and raise the quality of foreign manpower. As the global race for talent intensifies, we will further strengthen our talent infrastructure, increase mindshare of Singapore as a Talent Capital and a land of opportunities, as well as step up our efforts to proactively attract global talent and overseas Singaporeans to fill industry manpower gaps.
To motivate companies to focus on productivity improvements, MOM will further increase the foreign worker levies for all Work Permit and S Pass holders whilst keeping the Dependency Ratio Ceilings (DRC) unchanged2 . These changes will be phased-in from January 2012 to July 2013 to provide businesses sufficient time to make the necessary adjustments. In addition, to better reflect wage trends and to encourage companies to hire better quality foreign manpower to contribute to our economy, we will increase the salary thresholds below which employment will be deemed part time for a local worker under the Dependency Ratio (DR) framework, and adjust the qualifying salary criterion for Employment Pass and S Pass holders from July 20113.
Financial Security & Lifelong Employability for Singaporeans
MOM aims to foster lifelong employability, help our citizens build up their retirement adequacy and improve the income security of low-wage workers to bring about inclusive growth for all Singaporeans. $450.5 million will go towards enhancing financial security and lifelong employability for Singaporeans. This constitutes 43% of MOM’s budget.
To achieve this outcome, MOM will focus on the following key initiatives and programmes:
Enhancing Retirement Adequacy
With a positive growth outlook in 2011, we will raise the employer CPF contribution rate by another 0.5 percentage points from 15.5% to 16.0%, restoring the total contribution rate to 36%. The additional 0.5% will go into the Special Account. The CPF salary ceiling will also be raised from $4,500 to $5,000 per month to keep pace with income growth in recent years. These changes will take effect in September 2011 and help CPF members build up their savings faster. MOM and CPF Board will also continue to prepare for the first cohort who will be auto-included into CPF LIFE when they turn 55 in 2013.
Improving Employability for Low-Wage and Older Workers
As we pursue productivity-led growth and a higher quality of life, we must ensure that growth remains inclusive. MOM will help low-wage workers achieve financial security, income growth and good employment standards. On top of the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme, the Workfare Special Bonus will provide low-wage workers with more cash and allow more frequent payments. Beyond financial assistance, we will continue to encourage low-wage workers to upgrade their skills through the Workfare Training Support (WTS) Scheme. A new English @ Workplace scheme will be launched to allow companies to tailor literacy training to suit their needs and to have training conducted at their work premises. In addition, we will work with the tripartite partners to update the Tripartite Advisory on Responsible Outsourcing Practices and provide resources to help service buyers avoid cheap sourcing, so as to better protect the well-being of the outsourced workers. We will also enable service buyers and employees to make informed decisions by making available information on individual companies that infringe employment-related laws.
With an ageing labour force, we need to provide opportunities for workers to work longer. We will introduce the Special Employment Credit (SEC) to help raise the employability of older workers. We will be gazetting the Tripartite Guidelines on Re-employment of Older Employees to complement the Retirement and Re-employment Act that will take effect on 1 Jan 2012 and set the basis to resolve re-employment disputes. MOM will work with our tripartite partners to boost our efforts to help employers prepare for re-employment. In the long run, MOM is also looking at making workplaces more age-friendly.
MOM works towards building progressive workplaces to maximise the potential of its workforce. To achieve this, MOM works closely with the various stakeholders including the tripartite partners and industry to engender safer and healthier workplaces, maintain harmonious industrial relations, enhance employment standards and human resources practices, as well as better manage our foreign workforce. $113.2 million will be set aside to build progressive workplaces. This constitutes 11% of MOM’s budget.
Key initiatives and programmes in FY2011 include:
Promoting Safer Workplaces
MOM will continue to roll out initiatives under the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) 2018 strategy to achieve our objective of bringing down the workplace fatality rate to the national target of less than 1.8 fatalities per 100,000 workers. The construction sector remains a priority area and we will be ramping up initiatives such as the Safety Compliance Assistance Visits programme, under which WSH professionals visit smaller construction worksites to provide them with advice on WSH management. MOM and the WSH Council will also intensify efforts to prepare employers for the extension of the Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSHA) to all workplaces in 2011. This includes organising WSH Clinics to educate employers on their roles and obligations under the Act and to receive advice from experienced WSH professionals.
Flexible Workplaces, Progressive Employment Practices
To attract and retain valued employees, we will continue to promote progressive employment practices such as flexible work arrangements and work-life strategies. With a more diverse workforce, we need to ensure that workplace harmony is preserved. We will work with the tripartite partners to promote a variety of resources, including the recently developed workplace diversity management toolkit to help employers manage diverse teams. This will complement ongoing efforts to promote the adoption of fair and responsible employment practices. Together with our tripartite partners, we will help employers create progressive, inclusive and harmonious workplaces.
Better Management of Foreign Workers
MOM will continue to implement measures to safeguard the interests of foreign workers and their employers, by raising the accountability of employers and other stakeholders. The implementation of the new employment agency regulatory framework from 1 April 2011 will better deter malpractices upstream, at the recruitment stage. We will also be reviewing the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) to enhance our levers to deter and tackle employment malpractices. MOM will also continue with our efforts to ensure foreign domestic workers are treated fairly and to better adapt to work life in Singapore.
To find out more about the Ministry of Manpower and our initiatives, please visit our website.1 This includes $141.6 million (13%) to be spent on corporate services and information technology.
2 The DRC specifies the maximum permissible proportion of S Pass and Work Permit holders that a company may employ.
3 A company needs to have the requisite number of full-time local workers under the DR framework to qualify for foreign workers. Local workers will need to command a certain salary before they could be considered as full-time workers.