Thursday, 26 Nov 2020

250,000 workers saw a pay cut between March and September

SINGAPORE – About 250,000 employees had their wages cut between March and September, according to notifications received by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

This is about 7 per cent of the estimated 3.37 million-strong workforce here in September, excluding foreign domestic workers.

As at the end of September, the ministry had received close to 7,300 notifications on cost-cutting measures from about 5,000 employers, said a report on Thursday. Since March, employers with 10 or more employees have had to notify MOM if they take cost-saving measures that affect employees’ monthly salaries.

The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices proactively engaged about 900 employers whose salary cuts affecting close to 52,000 employees appeared to be excessive, and close to 330 of them agreed to review their measures. The remainder were able to justify the measures taken as necessary for business survival.

MOM received about 580 complaints between May and August related to cost-saving measures taken by around 470 employers, said the report. The vast majority were able to resolve their disputes amicably.

For example, a steward at a local hotel filed a complaint against her employer as she felt she should be receiving at least 75 per cent of her salary as her employer received financial support, such as from the Jobs Support Scheme.

The employer explained to MOM that it was operating at a loss even with the financial support from the Government. The hotel’s management explained the situation to its employees and sought their agreement on cost-saving measures.

MOM assessed that the measures were fair and reasonable to keep business operations sustainable, and the complainant accepted the explanation and withdrew her complaint.

MOM also received complaints involving about 80 employers regarding the quantum of retrenchment benefits that they had given. It found over 60 per cent of them had provided fair and reasonable retrenchment benefits. The others had genuine financial difficulties.

To date, no employer has been found to wilfully refuse to channel government support to proper use, said the report.

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