Some 19,000 lower-wage workers in the retail sector will soon see better wages and a more structured career progression with the introduction of the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) in the industry.
The Tripartite Cluster for Retail Industry (TCR) released its recommendations on the retail PWM on 15 August 2022.
The Ministry of Manpower has since issued a separate media release accepting the TCR's recommendations.
The PWM targets retail assistants, cashiers and assistant retail supervisors and covers some 46,000 full-time and part-time residents retail employees when it comes into effect on 1 September 2022.
TCR Chair Yeo Wan Ling said that retail industry employs some 87,000 resident employees, which constitutes to 4.5 per cent of the overall number of resident employees in Singapore.
She said: “They play an important role in keeping the retail economy vibrant and provide goods and services to meet the needs of every household and every individual.
“We would like to uplift the wages of our retail workers and provide them with a clear career progression pathway with the retail PWM recommendations.”
Lower-wage retail workers can expect improved baseline gross wage increases of between 1 September 2022 to 31 August 2025.
The TCR recommended a Compound Annual Growth Rate of between 8.4 per cent and 8.5 for the gross baseline wages of the lowest rung jobs over the next three years.
For example, a retail assistant’s PWM gross baseline wage will begin at $1,850 from September 2022 onwards. By September 2023, the baseline wage will be increased to $1,975, and $2,175 by September 2024.
Beyond pay, the PWM will also help both workers and business improve productivity through the inclusion of minimum training requirements for retail jobs.
The recommendations stipulate that workers need to complete at least one Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) training module.
As part of its recommendations, the TCR also mapped out the frontline operational and supervisory job roles to provide a clear career progression pathway.
Career Progression Pathway:
Retail Assistant/Cashier Ø Senior Retail Assistant/Senior Cashier Ø Assistant Retail Supervisor Ø Retail Supervisor Ø Retail Manager
The TCR will review the job descriptions periodically as the retail industry undergoes business and workforce transformation, and job roles evolve.
To help employers manage the increase in costs, the Government will co-fund wage increases for eligible resident employees between 2022 to 2026 through the Progressive Wage Credit Scheme, which was earlier announced in Budget 2022.
To address more immediate labour cost concerns, the Government will increase the co-funding amount in 2022, from 50 to 75 per cent for workers earning gross wages of up to $2,500, and from 30 to 45 per cent for workers earning between $2,500 and $3,000.
The implementation of the PWM will be enforced by the Ministry of Manpower by controlling employers’ eligibility for work passes. To renew or apply for new work passes, employers must comply with stipulated PWM requirements.
NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng said: “NTUC has been championing our lower-wage workers … NTUC will continue to listen out the needs of our workers, and through our #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations, we want to be in touch of the different needs of our workers, so as to achieve win-win possibilities for both our workers and our employer partners.”