Several key policy shifts outlined in the Forward Singapore Report are synonymous with the strategic focus areas in NTUC’s refreshed compact with workers.
NTUC supports the recommendations found in the Forward Singapore (Forward SG) report, which outlines how the Government will continue to work and refresh its social compact with Singaporeans moving forward.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong launched the report with the Forward Singapore Festival on 27 October 2023 at the Gardens by the Bay.
The report outlines the shifts in policies that the Government is taking in its refreshed social compact with Singaporeans. It is the amalgamation of the feedback gathered from over 200,000 Singaporeans over the past 16 months through various engagement sessions, surveys, roadshows and digital platforms.
Several key insights and recommendations found in NTUC’s #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations (#EWMC) have contributed towards some policy shifts outlined in the Forward SG Report.
These recommendations include targeted support for involuntarily unemployed jobseekers, training allowances for mid-career workers to build deep skills, and encouraging more employers to introduce better workplace support for caregivers.
Mr Wong said: “We want to ensure continued opportunities for Singaporeans to get good jobs and enjoy better living standards. The opportunities are not just for a few; they are certainly not limited to those with university degrees or those who fit into a certain conventional mold.
“We want equal opportunities for all Singaporeans, regardless of your background or your educational pathway and career choices.”
NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng, who attended the launch event, shared that Forward SG reaffirms the Government’s and NTUC’s promise to create a better future for all in Singapore.
He said: “For workers, NTUC will stay true to our decades-long mission of protecting their wages, welfare and work prospects – and in doing so, we resolutely commit to being an active voice for our workers. We will keep a close watch to ensure that no worker groups get left behind.
“At the same time, all of us have important parts to play to create a shared future that we all can look forward to. I call on all heads, hearts and hands in collective action to build better lives and livelihoods for all.”
Details of the Forward SG Report can be found at www.forwardsingapore.gov.sg.
Through the Forward SG engagements, Mr Wong shared three main findings of what Singaporeans desire.
They want a Vibrant and Inclusive nation – one that is filled with opportunities for all to learn and progress across diverse pathways and one where everyone is valued and respected for who they are and what they do.
Singaporeans also want a Fair and Thriving society where they can access basic needs through every life stage to pursue fulfilling and dignified lives. They want a Resilient and United society with a strong sense of shared identity and collective responsibility to uphold the common good for both now and future generations.
“The bottom line is that we are much stronger when we work together. We truly achieve success only when we succeed together.
“So we must harness our collective efforts and energies to build a stronger sense of identity and solidarity and to build a better Singapore together – not just for today, but also for tomorrow,” said Mr Wong.
The Forward SG Report outlined seven key shifts to ensure that the majority of people and their children see improvements in their lives while the nation continues to care for society’s most vulnerable.
There will be a shift towards (1) embracing learning beyond grades so that Singaporeans will pursue lifelong learning to fulfil their potential and realise their dreams. Beyond childhood education changes, the Government will significantly boost SkillsFuture to help mature mid-career Singaporeans reskill and upskill.
This includes a substantial top-up of the SkillsFuture Credit, training allowance for mature workers to take on full-time long-form training, and support for Singaporeans to obtain an additional publicly-funded diploma.
To support Singaporeans’ growing desire for meaningful jobs and prospects for mastery of skills, the Government will work towards (2) empowering Singaporeans to build career agility and resilience by further reducing wage gaps, supporting job transitions and working with employers and industry associations to nurture local talent to become specialists and leaders in their fields.
There will also be a shift to (3) support families through every stage of life so that Singapore will be an ideal country to grow and nurture families. This will be done by ensuring housing remains affordable, providing more support to new families, pushing for better work-life harmony, and enhancing support for caregivers.
To (4) enable seniors to age well, there will be a shift to encourage the active ageing, strengthening of community-based aged care system, and enhancement of existing schemes such as the Silver Support Scheme and Matched Retirement Savings Scheme and introduction of new schemes like the Majulah Package.
The Government also wants to (5) help those in need by working with community partners to empower lower-income families, enabling children to enrol earlier into preschool by making preschool education more affordable and accessible, and strengthening support for persons with disabilities.
To help deal with today’s challenges while providing a strong foundation for the future, society needs to (6) invest in a shared tomorrow. This will require the nation to plan and optimise its limited land resources, secure a climate-resilient future, strengthen food and water security, and uphold fiscal prudence and responsibility.
And to help bolster the nation’s collective strength for everyone to (7) do their part as one united people, there will be a shift towards nurturing a stronger culture of giving, strengthening the nation’s multi-racialism and Singaporean identity, and creating more avenues for civic participation.
Meanwhile, NTUC shared that it supports the Government’s commitment to create “more opportunities for Singaporeans to chart their own path, provide more assurance for Singaporeans to ensure they are taken care of at every life stage, and its call for collective responsibility”.
NTUC said it is committed to working collaboratively with the Government, unions, businesses, and civil society to ensure the well-being and prosperity of Singaporeans.
Moving forward, aligned with its renewed workers’ compact, NTUC will focus on championing the interests of youth, mid-career workers, caregivers, older workers and vulnerable workers.
Beyond what has been outlined in the Forward SG Report, NTUC will also look into supporting youths as they transition from school to work while seeking stronger and better representation for Self-Employed Persons.
Details of NTUC’s #EveryWorkMatters Conversations can be found at https://conversations.ntuc.sg/.