MOM suspends two employers' work passes for PWM non-compliance

Both employers underpaid 12 employees since April 2023, says MOM

MOM suspends two employers' work passes for PWM non-compliance

Two employers have been suspended from applying or renewing work passes for foreign workers after persistent non-compliance on Singapore's Progressive Wage Model (PWM).

The employers, both operating retail shops, have been underpaying 12 retail employees about $450 a month since April 2023, according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

The ministry said both employers "remained non-compliant despite several rounds of engagements by MOM to rectify their workers' wages."

"As such, MOM has suspended the employers from access to apply or renew work passes for foreign workers until they rectify the underpayments," the ministry said in a media release.

Singapore's Progressive Wage Model

Singapore's PWM helps increase wages of workers through upgrading their kills and improving productivity. Among its benefits include granting employers access to a better skilled and more productive workforce.

The PWM covers more than 155,000 lower-wage workers across nine sectors and occupations, according to MOM. In the Retail and Food Service firms, 87,000 of local full-time workers are covered by the model.

The employers' penalties came after MOM carried out inspections on 4,100 Retail and Food Service firms from April 2023 to March 2024.

"Most employers inspected are compliant with the Progressive Wage Model requirements. Some were not familiar with PWM requirements and were initially not compliant but rectified the wages after MOM explained the requirements," MOM said.

The inspections were carried out after the conclusion of the six-month run-in period intended to give employers time to adjust to the new requirements under the PWM.

MOM said further workplace inspections and audits on PWM compliance will be carried out, while collaboration with the Tripartite Partners and the PWM sectoral leads will continue to educate and help employers meet their PWM requirements.

PWCS co-funding hikes

To further support employers in adjusting to the PWM wage increases, eligible employers automatically receive co-funding support under the Progressive Wage Credit Scheme (PWCS).

This year, MOM said co-funding levels will be hiked to 50% for wages up to $2,500, and 30% for wages between $2,500 and $3,000.

In 2023, about $1 billion have been distributed to over 70,000 employers as PWCS co-funding support for PWM wage increases implemented in 2022.

The ministry said employers who need help understanding the PWM can sign up for the Progressive Wages workshops organised by the Singapore National Employer Federation.

Employees can also check if they are getting the correct wages by using their SingPass to log in to the Progressive Wage Portal.

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