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MOM COS 2023: Seizing Opportunities, Strengthening Support and Securing Better Workplaces for Singaporeans

The Manpower Ministry shares plans to help workers seize new opportunities in an ever-changing economy.
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By Ian Tan Hanhonn 01 Mar 2023
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The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) wants the nation to press on with economic transformation to allow Singaporeans to emerge stronger and seize new opportunities amidst an ever-changing economy.

MOM revealed its priorities for the year at the ministry’s Committee of Supply (COS) on 1 March 2023 in Parliament.

“MOM’s priorities for this COS will centre on three themes: seizing opportunities with you, strengthening support for you, and securing better workplaces with you,” shared Manpower Minister Tan See Leng in his speech.

New Initiatives


The Government will launch a new CareersFinder feature on the MyCareersFuture portal in the third quarter of this year.

The feature is a personalised jobs and skills recommender, which will help jobseekers identify new career opportunities and suitable training programmes by integrating jobs and skills advisories onto a single platform.

“It uses data on skills adjacencies and job transitions in the labour market to help jobseekers to identify potential career opportunities, personalised based on their individual profiles, and recommend suitable training programmes to help them achieve their career goals,” said Dr Tan.

The MyCareersFuture portal is managed by Workforce Singapore Agency (WSG) and GovTech.

More information on the feature will be available in the second half of 2023.

Mandatory Verification of Educational Qualifications for EP Applications

Meanwhile, MOM will introduce a mandatory verification of the educational qualifications of Employment Pass (EP) applications to ensure Singaporeans have a level-playing field and that companies strengthen their local talent pool.

The ministry will launch the new verification in conjunction with the implementation of the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) on 1 September 2023.

Employers who wish to score points under the qualifications criterion on COMPASS must submit verification proof of qualifications declared on their EP applications.

MOM will share more information on the verification process in due course.

More Protection for Platform Workers

Senior Minister of State Koh Poh Koon shared that the Government is currently determining how a representative body can collectively represent platform workers.

The framework will be based on the recommendations of the Tripartite Workgroup (TWG) on Representation for Platform Workers, which was first established on 30 August 2022.

“We will provide further updates once the TWG has completed its work in a few months,” said Dr Koh.

More Support for Lower-Income Platform Workers

Additionally, Dr Koh announced that lower-wage platform workers who align their CPF contributions to that of employees early will receive more robust support.

“In the first year, we will offset 75 per cent of the additional contribution the platform worker makes to the Ordinary and Special Accounts. The offset will taper down gradually over the next three years of the CPF contribution rate phase-in period,” he said.

When the platform worker’s CPF contribution has been fully aligned with that of employees, the Government will also permanently increase the worker’s Workfare Income Supplementary (WIS) payments to a maximum of $4,200.

Other changes being made to better support lower-income platform workers include changing WIS payments from yearly to monthly, and the augmentation of WIS payments from 90 per cent CPF and 10 per cent cash to 60 per cent CPF and 40 per cent cash.

“The measures will mitigate the concerns in take-home pay while ensuring platform workers receive a significant boost in their retirement savings,” said Dr Koh.

Initiatives Announced at Budget

Extension of Senior Employment Credit

Dr Koh also shared that the Government will extend the Senior Employment Credit (SEC) and Part-time Re-employment Grant (PTRG) from 2023 to 2025 to help senior workers secure better workplaces.

He added that the SEC will support senior workers aged 60 and above earning up to $4,000 a month instead of those aged 55 to 59.

“Local employees aged 60 and above will be able to receive a wage subsidy of up to 8 per cent. The subsidy will be automatically paid to the relevant employer,” he said in Mandarin.

Extension of Part-time Re-employment Grant

Meanwhile, Dr Koh announced that applications for PTRG will reopen in April 2023.

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong shared in his Budget Speech that firms that fulfil the revised eligibility criteria of encouraging flexible work arrangements (FWA) with the inclusion of a structured career plan will be eligible for funding of up to $125,000.

“We hope that employers will leverage the resources provided through these schemes to put in place progressive practices,” he said.

Support for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)

Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang shared that the Government will enhance the Enabling Employment Credit (EEC) to encourage the employment of persons with disabilities (PWDs) – especially those unemployed for longer.

Currently, the EEC provides employers of PWDs earning below $4,000 a month with permanent wage offsets of up to 20 per cent. Employers who hire PWDs unemployed for at least six months will receive an additional time-limited wage offset of up to 10 per cent for six months.

“I am pleased to announce that the Government will enhance the additional wage offset by raising the support level from 10 to 20 per cent and increasing the support duration from six to nine months,” she said.

Support for Ex-offenders

Ms Gan also shared the Government’s plan to help ex-offenders reintegrate into society through the new Uplifting Employment Credit (UEC).

Under the UEC, employers who hire ex-offenders through Yellow Ribbon Singapore and Singapore Prison Service’s employment programmes will automatically qualify for a wage offset of 20 per cent.

The offset is capped at $600 a month, valid for ex-offenders earning less than $4,000 monthly and their first nine months of employment.

Employers will receive the UEC for new ex-offenders hired between April 2023 and December 2025.

This offset for the first nine months, up to $5,400 for each ex-offender employee.

“We will review the scheme thereafter to assess its effectiveness in improving ex-offenders’ employment outcomes, such as job retention and wages,” she said.

Updates on Existing Initiatives

Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS)

MOM will publish the details of the COMPASS Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and Strategic Economic Priorities (SEP) Bonus by the end of March 2023.

The SOL identifies occupations requiring niche and highly specialised skills in short supply within Singapore’s workforce which are critical to sustaining investments in key growth or strategic priority areas.

The SEP Bonus, on the other hand, is a selective bonus which supports firms that are contributing to Singapore’s strategic economic priorities.

Dr Tan said: “Economic agencies will work with firms receiving the SEP Bonus to pursue these economic priorities and demonstrate their commitment to developing the local workforce.

“NTUC will work with firms on company and workforce transformation efforts, for example, by establishing Company Training Committees to chart out worker upskilling plans.”

To be eligible for the SEP Bonus, firms are expected to maintain healthy workforce profiles on nationality diversity and local PMET employment.

E Pass and S Pass Qualifying Salaries

The Government will be increasing the S Pass qualifying salary from $3,000 to $3,150 and Tier 1 levy from $450 to $550 in September 2023.

The Government will also raise the qualifying salary for older S Pass holders, given that local associate professionals and technicians (APT) wages rise with age.

There will be no changes made to the EP qualifying salary for this year.

MOM will publish more details on the qualifying salaries on their website.

Non-Traditional Source Occupation List

Employers who wish to hire Non-Traditional Source (NTS) Work Permit Holders will be subject to a sub-quota of 8 per cent, and a fixed monthly salary criterion of at least $2,000, shared Dr Tan.

There are currently no plans to further add other occupations into the NTS occupation list beyond what was announced during last year’s Committee of Supply debate.

Adoption of Flexible Work Arrangements

Ms Gan said that for flexible work arrangements (FWAs) to be sustainable, they have to make sense not only for employees, but for employers as well.

“Employers and employees must find the right balance for themselves, through an iterative process,” she said.

She shared that the Government will continue working with tripartite partners to draft Tripartite Guidelines on FWAs.