WP renews calls for minimum wage, anti-discrimination laws ahead of National Day Rally


SINGAPORE – The Workers’ Party (WP) on Friday (Aug 27) reiterated five policy ideas it had raised in previous years, citing the “opportune” backdrop of recent government discussions and the National Day Rally on Sunday.

In a statement, the WP renewed calls to introduce a minimum wage, a redundancy insurance scheme as well as anti-discrimination laws; review the public housing framework; and avoid a goods and services tax (GST) hike.

It had mooted these policies in its 2020 election manifesto and in parliamentary speeches over the past decade.

WP said it was resurfacing these key policy areas in the light of what it welcomed as “recent signals from high-ranking government figures on the Government’s openness towards implementing much-needed reforms”.

During a public lecture in July, the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s managing director Ravi Menon suggested that the country consider a modest minimum wage as a complement to the existing progressive wage model (PWM) – a wage ladder where workers earn more as they upgrade their skills.

The WP said an across-the-board minimum wage would provide a living wage for workers and “comfortably coexist” with the PWM, while allowing for higher sector-specific wage floors and productivity-linked wage increments from that universal minimum level.

On Thursday, the labour movement called for additional monetary support for professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) who have lost their jobs, and for more to be done to address workplace discrimination.

The WP on Friday said a redundancy insurance scheme would provide pay-outs for the involuntarily unemployed, and would have cushioned the shock to the economy and livelihoods if it had been introduced before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

WP also proposed anti-discrimination laws to prevent bias in hiring and firing by ethnicity, gender and age, arguing this would provide greater clarity to job seekers and deter discrimination by unscrupulous employers.

On the impending GST hike from 7 per cent to 9 per cent – due by 2025 – the party suggested finding other ways to manage revenue shortfall, including easing rules to allow for a greater Net Investment Returns Contribution.

It also said the existing Housing Board framework should be reviewed to ensure affordability, for instance by introducing a universal sale and lease buyback scheme.

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