News & Updates

Media Statement by the Singapore National Employers Federation on #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations Report

29 September 2023

The findings and recommendations of the #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations (EWMC) released by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) distil the aspirations and anxieties of workers in Singapore.

2. They are important for the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) as we seek to co-create solutions with our tripartite partners, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and NTUC, to help both employers and workers to thrive in a future economy that are being disrupted by digitalisation, demographic changes, diversity in the workforce, decarbonisation and geopolitics.

Every Worker Matters to Employers

3. SNEF President Dr Robert Yap said, “Every worker matters to employers. As responsible employers, we strongly believe that when employers take good care of their workers, they will take good care of the business. Vice versa, when workers take good care of the business, their employers will take good care of them.

4. This reciprocal relationship has strengthened trust in the workplace which enabled employers to focus on driving sustainable growth and share the fruits of labour by providing better wages, work prospects and working conditions for workers.”

Supporting Workers

5. It is in the interest of employers to develop their workers to their fullest potential and support them in achieving work-life harmony and good health. Their workers would be able to do their best at work which would help their business to be more productivity and be sustainable. This would allow them to continue to invest and support their workers in a virtuous cycle.

6. While EWMC have identified some gaps, we are not starting from zero as the tripartite partners have anticipated some of these issues and are already working together to tackle them.

7. For youths, SNEF will be conducting training programmes for managers and supervisors to equip them with the skills to coach and mentor younger workers under the Career Starter Lab that NTUC and SNEF jointly developed.

8. SNEF has also partnered with Temasek Polytechnic to provide a structured human resource (HR) internship programme for students who aspire to have a career in HR. The programme provides the opportunity for the students to apply what they have learned in real-life setting and have better insight on what are the skills needed when they enter the workforce. SNEF will seek to work with relevant Government agencies, NTUC and employers to further strengthen the school-industry partnership to help youths transit from school to work more seamlessly.

9. For mid-career individuals, from the feedback that we gathered by the NTUC-SNEF PME taskforce formed in October 2020, employers had expressed that some jobs may require workers to undergoing longer period of training of more than one year to acquire new deep skills. Government support to provide funding for training fees and absentee payroll for a longer period is crucial for employers, especially for those who are manpower lean.

10. To better prepare mid-career employees for new or redesigned job roles, employers could refer to the Jobs Transformation Maps to identify the skills that their employees would need to acquire to take on these jobs. On the other hand, workers should also take ownership of their skill development by initiating training to update their skills. Employers would be supportive if the training is relevant to the needs of the business and will result in an increase in productivity.

11. For workers who are caregivers, we noted that the most preferred form of support they need is flexible work arrangement (FWA). SNEF agrees that FWA would better meet the varying needs of different workers and businesses. SNEF will work with MOM and NTUC to develop a set of Tripartite Guidelines to guide employers in considering requests for FWA by their employees.

12. For older workers, the tripartite partners have announced the roadmap to raise the retirement age, reemployment age and CPF contribution rates by 2030. More importantly, we are also looking at providing more types of employment opportunities for older workers and ensuring their employability.

13. SNEF administers the Part-Time Re-employment Grant to encourage employers to provide part-time work for older workers who may not want to work full-time but wish to remain active. This is a win-win arrangement as employers could retain good employees while the older workers do not need to choose between full-time work and retirement.

14. In addition, during consultation by the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers, it was found that older workers are more likely to look to their employers to signal what training to undertake. As employers are in a better position to determine their skills demand, they should guide older workers on what training they need for career development and re-employment. Hence, together with MOM, SNEF had launched the Structured Career Planning Guide to assist employers to conduct regular career conversations with their older workers to plan for the next phase of their career.

15. For the more vulnerable groups of workers, the Tripartite Workgroup on Lower-Wage Workers had released a roadmap till 2030 to uplift lower-wage workers. There are also other initiatives such as the Enabling Masterplan and the Yellow Ribbon project to support persons with disabilities and ex-offenders to be meaningfully employed respectively.

Concluding Remarks

16. Said Dr Yap, “NTUC had undertaken a massive effort of engaging over 42,000 workers through the #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations to reflect the views of workers. I congratulate NTUC for the launch of the EWMC report and the renewal of their Workers’ Compact to stand by all workers in Singapore into the future. SNEF will study the report carefully and work with MOM and NTUC to co-create solutions that will achieve win-win-win outcomes for Singapore, employers and workers.”