News & Updates

Media Statement by the Singapore National Employers Federation on Singapore Budget 2024

16 February 2024

The Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) welcomes the support provided to employers and workers in navigating the challenges wrought by greater uncertainty and increased costs, while also building capabilities for the long-term to sustain competitiveness and remain economically vibrant.

Improving Productivity, Staying Competitive

2   SNEF thanks the government for the $2 billion top up to the National Productivity Fund, which supports measures for businesses to improve productivity, and continue to educate and train workers.
Upskilling and Reskilling of the Workforce

3   SNEF supports the extension of the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit and thanks the government for considering SNEF’s feedback on continuing the initiative. This will help employers cope with the costs of embarking on workforce and business transformation even as they restructure their operations to stay competitive and improve productivity.

4   We applaud the introduction of the SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme for all Singaporeans aged 40 and above, which includes a $4,000 SkillsFuture Credit top-up. The focus on training programmes with better employability outcomes will increase the resilience and agility of our mid-career workers, and support their efforts in taking charge of their career. This will give Singaporeans an opportunity to have a productive and meaningful career, which in turn help employers to meet manpower needs, and at the same time, maximise the potential of our workforce. The Career Conversion Programme (CCP) is a key enabler in helping mid-career workers in this and SNEF is one of the programme partners that administers the CCP which supports mid-career workers by equipping them with new skills to take on new job roles.

5   Together with proactive career planning, mid-career employees can identify future career opportunities, and take up relevant training courses, especially towards key growth sectors such as Artificial Intelligence, advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity and green technology.

Sustaining Efforts to Uplift Lower-Wage Workers

6   The increase in the Local Qualifying Salary (LQS) will help with the national effort to uplift the wages of lower-wage workers. However, the new wage requirement will also add on to the manpower costs for employers. The raising of co-funding levels and wage ceiling under the enhanced Progressive Wage Credit Scheme (PWCS) from 2024 will alleviate some of the cost pressures that employers are facing. Even though the enhancement is lower than what SNEF had proposed, the additional support from the enhanced PWCS would be welcomed by employers.

7   Employers should continue to innovate and raise productivity by leveraging on technology and upskilling workers. SNEF is currently supporting employers in redesigning job roles and reskilling existing workers through the programmes such as the Jobs-Skills Integrator for Retail (JSIT-R) and Job Redesign under Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG-JR).

Enhancing Retirement Adequacy for Senior Workers

8   The increase in the CPF contribution rates for employees aged 55 to 65 by a further 1.5% in 2025, will enhance the retirement adequacy for senior workers. We thank the Government for extending the CPF Transition Offset, which was recommended by SNEF as part of the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers. This will help mitigate the cost increase faced by employers.

8   In this increasingly uncertain environment, there is a greater need for the tripartite partners to stand stronger together for Singapore to continue to thrive. As the national federation of employers, SNEF will continue to support employers to transform their business and upskill their workforce.

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Dr. Robert Yap
President
Singapore National Employers Federation