Want to help uplift lower-wage workers next time you shop?
Look out for these bright ticks on the shop’s or firm’s documents then:
This is the Progressive Wage Mark logo (and its cousin the Progressive Wage Mark Plus’s).
It recognises employers that pay progressive wages to lower-wage workers.
These progressive wages include at least the Local Qualifying Salary (LQS) of S$1,400, and generally higher salaries to workers in seven sectors: cleaning, security, landscape, lift and elevator maintenance, retail, waste management and food services.
A landscape worker, for example, would get at least $1,650 under the Progressive Wage Model (PWM).
Administrators and drivers are also covered under the PWM.
“I sincerely hope the new PW Mark will become a recognised symbol that serves as a call to Singaporeans to join our movement to support lower-wage workers by purchasing from companies with the PW Mark,” posted Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad on Jan 18, when he launched the logo at Uniqlo Singapore, together with labour MP Ms Yeo Wan Ling.
About 1,900 companies are currently PW Mark-accredited — this after applications opened last December.
234,000 lower-wage workers can benefit
“With the launch of the PW Mark, we will cover up to 234,000 (94 per cent) of lower-wage workers,” said SMS Zaqy.
It’s a firm step towards a more inclusive Singapore and firmly in the Party’s tried-and-tested tradition of tripartite partnership, where worker unions, employers and the Government work together towards winning outcomes for all parties.
“This scheme was recommended by the Tripartite Workgroup on Lower-Wage Workers in August 2021, and is administered by the Singapore Business Federation on behalf of the tripartite partners (Ministry of Manpower, National Trades Union Congress and Singapore National Employers Federation) and part of a whole-of-society effort for uplifting lower-wage workers,” wrote the Government in a press release that same day.
For employers: this is how to get on board
On another front of this alliance, it’s convenient to get PW Mark-accredited if you’re an employer — and beneficial.
“In Dec 2022, we found that 7 in 10 Singaporeans are likely to purchase from a PW Mark-accredited company to benefit lower-wage workers,” wrote SMS Zaqy.
As mentioned, PW Mark accreditation is for those employers who (i) pay the relevant workers Progressive Wages, and (ii) pay all other local workers at least the Local Qualifying Salary.
There is co-funding support through the Progressive Wage Credit Scheme as well. This runs until 2026, so employers can currently get financial support of up to 50 per cent these wage increases. The funding does taper off in successive years; it’s meant to support a smooth transition.
And if you want that big plus sign added to your accreditation (the PW Mark Plus), you will need to go one step further and adopt the Tripartite Standard on Advancing Well-being of Lower-Wage Workers (TS-LWW).
That means working with the PAP Government to support lower-wage workers in workplace safety and health, skills training and places to rest.
An uplifting 2023
The PW Mark, and the progressive wages it represents, can increasingly fuel the dreams and aspirations of unsung heroes working hard every day across Singapore.
“Tripartite partners are progressively implementing the expansion of Progressive Wages to cover more lower-wage workers,” outlined the Government.
“From Mar 1, 2023, the Food Services Progressive Wage Model (PWM) and Occupational Progressive Wages for Administrators and Drivers will take effect. The Waste Management PWM will also be implemented from Jul 1, 2023.”
Or, in the words of SMS Zaqy:
“Let’s press on to uplift our lower-wage workers and build an inclusive community together!”
Cover photo credit: Zaqy Mohamad / Facebook, Singapore Business Federation