WILL PRICES RISE?
When asked by reporters how consumers would be affected, TCR said that over the long term, prices would rise but businesses should continue to look at improving productivity to sell more and to offer more competitive prices.
There are more than 29,000 retail enterprises in Singapore spanning convenience stores, department stores, supermarkets and shops selling fashion, sporting, consumer electronics, furniture and household goods among others. Some of the retail workers are also in firms in the wholesale sector.
Pointing to a manpower crunch in the retail sector, the Singapore Retailers Association’s honorary secretary Helen Khoo said she hopes that wage increments and structured career pathways will help retailers retain workers and attract more people to join the industry.
Mr Chou Cheng Ngok, a TCR co-chair and representative for the Singapore National Employers Federation, said that the PWM recommendations by the TCR considered feedback from the retail industry, such as seasonal fluctuations in sales and performance incentives.
This would help employers with implementation of the new requirements, said Mr Chou, who is also group chief executive officer and executive director of Popular Holdings.
“With the Singapore economy emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, I strongly urge retail employers to leverage technology to transform their business, redesign their jobs and upskill their employees to stay relevant and be more productive,” he added.
TCR said there would be a review of the retail sector’s PWM in 2024.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will enforce the implementation of Retail PWM requirements through employers’ eligibility for work passes.
Employers will need to comply with the stipulated Retail PWM requirements, and any other applicable PWM and Local Qualifying Salary requirements, in order to apply for or renew work passes including work permits, S Passes and Employment Passes.
For retail workers employed by firms which do not hire foreign staff, TCR expects market forces to eventually push their wages up as well.
From this year to 2026, the Government will co-fund PWM wage increases under the Progressive Wage Credit Scheme, as announced during Budget 2022.
Given recent significant inflationary pressures, the Government said in June that its co-funding share in 2022 will increase from 50 per cent to 75 per cent for resident employees with gross monthly wages of up to S$2,500.
It will go up from 30 per cent to 45 per cent for employees with gross monthly wages of above S$2,500 and up to S$3,000.