Budget 2023 Support Workers!


In parliament today (14 Feb) Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong announced many key benefits workers could expect in Budget 2023.

Kakak compiled a list for you liao. You’re welcome.

Working parents

For my adik-adik who are thinking of starting or expanding their family, got great news for you!

Paternity leave will be doubled, from two to four weeks for fathers of Singaporean children born from Jan 1, 2024! Currently, eligible working fathers of Singaporean children are entitled to two weeks of Government-Paid Paternity Leave.

Then unpaid infant care leave will also be doubled from six days to 12 days per parent per year. But this unpaid infant care leave is only for children up to two years old yah.

Then one of the best news from today is for young families and all who have caregiving responsibilities like me.

According to DPM Lawrence Wong, “We will better support parents in managing their work and family commitments. A key component is flexible work arrangements. We have been encouraging employers to adopt the voluntary Tripartite Standard on Flexi-Work Arrangements and to make these arrangements more pervasive. We will implement these Tripartite Guidelines by next year, which means that employers will be required to consider staff requests for such flexi-work arrangements fairly and properly.”

In her Facebook post, Miss Yeo Wan Ling, Director of NTUC U Women and Family (WAF) was heartened by this announcement.

Through the #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations (EWMC), Ms Yeo had the opportunity to engage caregivers who expressed anxieties about their ability to manage work and caregiving commitments. Having sufficient support to balance work and caregiving was also raised during the Conversations on Singapore Women’s Development and highlighted in the White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development.

Anyway with remote and hybrid working models already widely adopted by Singapore companies during the pandemic, this piece of news can be considered the next level of flexible work! So many of my friends quit their jobs tau during the pandemic because they had to care for their kids and parents, so Kakak is happy to hear this because I think it’s a good retention tool.

Senior Workers: Enhancing retirement adequacy

Gahmen will increase CPF contribution rates for Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 55 to 70 between 1 and 1.5 percentage points.  This is the third time the contribution rate is increased for this group of workers.

Like previous increases in 2022 and 2023, the upcoming one will be fully allocated to the CPF Special Account to help our senior workers prepare for retirement adequacy.

DPM Lawrence Wong also announced that the CPF monthly salary ceiling will be increased in stages from S$6,000 to S$8,000 by 2026.

This is aligned to a call made in 2022, by the labour movement on improving retirement adequacy for workers when Deputy Secretary-General of NTUC, Mr Heng Chee How called for CPF contribution salary ceilings of middle-income workers to be reviewed so that they can have enough retirement funds in their accounts.

Platform Workers: CPF Transition Support

And still on CPF, platform workers will receive the Platform Worker CPF Transition Support, which will offset part of the additional CPF contributions for these workers and cushion the impact on their take-home pay.

Improving housing and retirement adequacy of platform workers has been a longstanding concern of the labour movement and one of the focus areas raised by the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers last year.

In fact, Miss Yeo who is also the Advisor to National Taxi Association, National Delivery Champions Association (NDCA) and National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) said in her FB post, “While our driving and delivering community saw the long-term benefits of CPF safety nets, they are worried about how this could impact their livelihoods and take-home earnings. The budget acknowledges our ground feedback and has provided for a CPF Transitional Support to help our lower-wage workers through this transitional process. The Labour Movement will continue to call for fair treatment and protection during the budget debates as details on this transitional support and other safety nets are worked out.”

According to DPM Lawrence Wong, lower-income platform workers earning S$2,500 or less a month will receive a CPF transition support to offset part of these workers’ share of the year-on-year increase in their CPF contribution rates in the first four years of implementation. This will help to cushion the impact on their take-home pay.

Lower-wage workers

The gahmen will continue to help lower-wage workers achieve better career progression and wages through PWM. The PWM was last expanded to Retail Workers in September 2022, benefitting 46,000 full-time and part-time resident retail employees.

You all remember the Progressive Wage Credit Scheme (PWCS) introduced last year? It was implemented to ensure employers make conscious efforts to increase the wages of the low-wage workers. The PWCS provides transitional wage support to employers and co-funds the wage increases that employers provide to resident lower-wage employees.

This year, the gahmen will enhance the scheme’s co-funding support or wage increases in the qualifying year of 2023, and top up the scheme’s fund by S$2.4 billion.

Targeted support for workers

According to DPM Lawrence Wong, the gahmen will also do more for specific groups who may need more support to secure employment such as persons with disabilities (PWDs) and ex-offenders.

DPM Lawrence Wong said, “To support employers to hire persons with disabilities or PwDs, I will enhance the Enabling Employment Credit to cover a larger proportion of wages and a longer duration for PwDs who have not been working for at least six months.  We know many PwDs want to work, and if given the chance, have valuable skills to offer. As a society, we should give them the opportunity to do so. I will also introduce a new Uplifting Employment Credit in the form of a time-limited wage offset to encourage firms to employ ex-offenders”

To me, this year’s Budget addressed the challenges our nation and workers are currently facing. All these goodies and schemes will help Singapore to secure its prospects in a troubled world as it prepares for a post-pandemic future.

As we face greater uncertainties and volatility, our gahmen will continue to assist our workers and business in identifying and seizing new opportunities by continue to attract a fair share of investments and creating good jobs for all Singaporeans!

Sure Boh?

If you’d like to contribute your story to us, drop us an email at editors@sureboh.sg and we’ll review it. We read each submission that comes to us within two weeks of receiving it.

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