The tripartite effort to uplift lower-wage workers got a boost with the launch of the Progressive Wage (PW) Mark.
It is an accreditation scheme that recognises companies that pay their lower-wage workers progressive wages.
Accredited companies can use the mark to identify themselves as businesses that support better wages for lower-wage workers.
This enables service buyers and consumers supportive of such a practice to purchase products and services from companies awarded the mark.
The PW Mark was part of the Tripartite Workgroup on Lower-Wage Workers’ (TWG-LWW) recommendations in August 2021. It will be administered by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF).
The PW Mark was launched on 18 January 2023 at Uniqlo’s Orchard Central store by Senior Minister of State Zaqy Mohamed.
Mr Zaqy said: “We hope this [PW Mark] will give consumers and buyers’ confidence in all the standards that are put in place and that our companies are paying progressive wages to our lower-wage workers.
“This is part of the social compact that we hope to put in place over the years, and really about us having a role in the government, and the welfare of our low-wage workers among us.”
Under this new accreditation scheme, employers who have at least one local worker covered by sectoral or occupational progressive wages can apply for the PW Mark.
They must also pay progressive wages to the relevant workers and the current local qualifying salary of $1,400 to other local workers.
Employers can take things up by adopting the Tripartite Standard on Advancing Well-being of Lower-Wage Workers (TS-LWW) and be awarded the PW Mark Plus.
The standard requires employers to provide better support for lower-wage workers in workplace safety and health, training, career development, and rest area provision.
To encourage companies to apply for the PW Mark, the Government will require its eligible suppliers and subcontractors to obtain the accreditation during the contract period.
The new requirements will be valid for new tenders from 1 March 2023 and procurement quotations from 1 March 2024.
NTUC U SME Director Yeo Wan Ling said the new scheme signals a strong partnership between tripartite partners, employers, and consumers to protect lower-wage workers.
She elaborated: “We believe that under the Progressive Wage Mark, it is about a partnership with the employers and the consumers.
“We believe that if consumers see a mark, they know that this company is a company that protects their workers, that is fair to their workers.
“With this mark, we encourage consumers to participate in this entire discourse on how we can make the lives of our lower-wage workers even more dignified and better.”
Around 1,900 companies have been successfully accredited since applications opened in December last year.
One such company is Uniqlo, which received its PW Mark certification at the event.
According to Uniqlo Singapore HR Director Juliana Tan, the company is no stranger to progressive practices ― it adopted the retail Progressive Wage Model (PWM) three months before the official implementation date in September 2022.
She shared that the PW Mark is a way for them to attract new entrants into the industry and set a retail salary benchmark.
It will also serve to enhance their progressive worker practices.
She explained: “We are glad that we are given the recognition and the accreditation because it recognises Uniqlo as an employer of choice … and we recognise the importance of our workforce, which is the driving force of our business.”
Eligible companies can apply for the PW Mark and PW Mark Plus via GoBusiness.