Addendum to President’s Address: New insurance scheme for migrant workers’ medical bills; better wages for locals a key priority, Politics News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – An insurance coverage programme will likely be developed to assist employers handle unexpectedly giant medical bills of migrant employees, stated Manpower Minister Josephine Teo on Wednesday (Aug 26).

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will even fastidiously take into account the cost-sharing mannequin for larger requirements in migrant employee dormitories, at the same time as a stronger system of medical help for the employees is constructed, she added.

“As necessary as it’s to safeguard the well being and wellness of our employees, we should additionally guarantee the upper prices are sustainable,” Mrs Teo stated in her ministry’s addendum to the President’s earlier speech, setting out its priorities for the brand new time period of presidency.

That is a part of the MOM’s larger give attention to the well-being of the nation’s workforce, as Covid-19 has triggered appreciable stress to people, she famous.

At present, the Work Damage Compensation Act (WICA) requires employers to purchase work damage compensation insurance coverage for all handbook staff and non-manual staff incomes as much as $2,100 a month – the ceiling goes as much as $2,600 subsequent April.

Most different employees are voluntarily insured by their employers.

The compensation limits beneath WICA had been raised this yr and canopy medical bills as much as $45,000, or as much as one yr from the date of the accident, whichever comes first.

The security and residing circumstances of international employees have been within the highlight this yr after dormitories noticed enormous clusters of Covid-19 circumstances.

Mrs Teo stated the brand new Assurance, Care and Engagement Group in her ministry will guarantee dormitories and different migrant employee housing are secure and resilient in opposition to public well being threats. Additionally, the Group will workforce up with the neighborhood and migrant employee teams to satisfy the employees’ social wants.

MOM will even accomplice commerce associations and chambers, non-governmental organisations {and professional} our bodies to offer a greater help community for all employees, she added.

On the similar time, enhancing the wages of these on the decrease finish stays a key precedence of the ministry, though the main focus now’s to make sure lower-income locals stay employed amid the financial downturn.

Over time, the progressive wage mannequin will likely be expanded to extra sectors, in a means that’s sensible and ensures that native unemployment stays low, the minister stated.

The mannequin units out minimal salaries for native employees in numerous roles alongside a profession and abilities development framework.

It’s obligatory within the cleansing, safety and landscaping sectors, the place full-time employees have seen their gross month-to-month incomes go up by round 30 per cent within the final 5 years, stated Mrs Teo.

This fee is way sooner than development in median wages, she stated, including that the positive factors are even bigger when enhancements to Workfare are included.

Elevating wages on the decrease finish wants a long-term dedication and new mindsets amongst employers, service patrons and society at giant, she stated.

“We might should pay barely extra for providers, in order that lower-income employees are in a position to tackle higher jobs and earn larger wages. Along with the Authorities’s help for lower-income employees by way of Workfare and different schemes, it’s going to assist us mitigate inequalities and strengthen our social compact.”

Different motion plans on the ministry’s agenda embody reviewing frequently the Workfare and Silver Help schemes to repair gaps in social security nets for low-wage older employees and senior residents, in addition to implementing the suggestions of the Citizen’s Panel on Work-Life Concord, together with supporting employers who supply flexi-work preparations and work-life concord initiatives.

“Earlier than Covid-19, we had been getting ready employees and employers for the way forward for work. These efforts should now shift to even larger gear,” Mrs Teo stated.

“We’ll deepen and broaden efforts to make sure equity at work, with a give attention to giving each employee an opportunity to be meaningfully employed, and fostering an inclusive workforce and progressive workplaces.”

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