Minimum wage is like the second most popular kid in school recently, being mentioned by almost everyone in Singapore.
WriterCattyMeow: YES! Goody Feed shouldn’t be allowed to pay us in canned sardines!
Wait, wut? They’re not supposed to do that…
WriterCattyMeow: Oh. It’s illegal?!
For the uninitiated, minimum wage basically means the government makes it illegal for a company to pay its employee below a certain amount.
Let’s say tomorrow, the Singapore government suddenly proclaimed that writers in Goody Feed must have a minimum wage of $1,500; Goody Feed can no longer pay us 1 canned sardine per article.
That’s the basic idea lah but you can find out more here:
But if you’re wondering why you don’t hear about the Minimum Wage Model, that’s because Singapore doesn’t practise that particular school of thought.
Instead, they went for something a bit more…progressive.
The Progressive Wage Model:
Just like its namesake, the progressive wage model (PWM) basically means that instead of telling companies how much to pay their employees (minimally), they tell them how much they have to raise the employees’ salaries based on their skillset.
So instead of asking writers to be paid $1,500 a month, they say our wages must increase by 10% next year.
But of course lah, workers don’t get free month; they’ll have to upgrade themselves so that they are “worth” the extra money.
So whatever our base salary is, it’ll increase, hopefully helping us to beat inflation and at least survive in Singapore, but we won’t be doing just writing anymore. Maybe we’ll have to start thinking of memes too.
Currently, the PWM is in three industries: the cleaning, security and landscape industry, covering around 80,000 workers according to manpower minister Josephine Teo.
While it’s not feasible to extend the PWN to more sectors, minister Teo says they have a new plan in the works.
The PWM Mark
Here’s the basic idea about the PWM Mark based on what we understand from Minister Teo, it operates just like any other “marks” in Singapore.
SG Clean sticker? This stall or business adheres to all guidelines so they’re clean and safe to go to during Covid-19.
Michelin Sticker? The food is good.
The PWM Mark is meant to honour businesses who “voluntarily pays progressive wages and provide their workers with job progressions pathways”.
This could lead to said businesses being seen as a “good business” by consumers so they’ll buy their products and services to support them.
As a side benefit, once other businesses see that the PWM Mark works, they’ll be tempted to jump on board because happy workers and customers? That’s truly a rare thing to find in Singapore.
But whether it’ll work or not, Minister Teo mentioned, depends on consumers in Singapore.
“For the PWM Mark to work, there must, however, be a broader movement involving society at large. As consumers, we must be prepared to pay slightly more and intentionally support such progressive companies by purchasing their products or services.”
According to the minister, the PWM mark is supposed to be rolled out next year and it’s mentioned that F&B, as well as retail, is suitable to jump on the bandwagon.