|MOM takes 3-pronged approach to help workers, firms weather downturn|
|Saturday, 14 February 2009 08:00|
The ministry is helping businesses remain viable, saving jobs and helping the unemployed find work.
Acting Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong also gave details of the one-off Workfare Special Payment announced in the Budget's Resilience Package.
The Jobs Credit scheme and the S$650 million Skills Programme for Upgrading and Resilience (SPUR) are key initiatives to help companies save jobs.
Mr Gan said progress on SPUR has been encouraging, with more than 20,000 workers already committed for training as at the end of January.
Several Members of Parliament have called for expanding the list of approved training organisations that can offer SPUR approved courses.
The Manpower Ministry said more than 60 training institutions which offer the Workforce Skills Qualifications will also now offer SPUR-approved courses.
Mr Gan told the House that both Jobs Credit and SPUR are already having an impact on the ground.
He said: "MediaCorp is an example of a company that will be implementing comprehensive measures to control costs and save jobs. Amongst the measures it will adopt are an alternate short week scheme and a suspension of the policy of to carry forward leave, wage restraint and a cut in their variable bonuses.
"As a responsible employer with 2,700 staff, MediaCorp makes it a point to consult the union in the decisions that will impact its staff."
Help is also on the way for low wage workers. They will receive a one-off Workfare Special Payment of up to a total of S$1,200 in three stages and entirely in cash.
It is for work done in 2008 and 2009, together with the regular workfare payments. The first payment is in March.
Mr Gan added that the ministry recognised that some low wage workers may experience less regular employment this year during the downturn.
"Therefore the work criterion for the 2009 special payment will be less demanding to make it easier for low wage workers to qualify," he said. "For the 2009 special payment, so long as the worker has worked two months in any six-month period, he will be entitled to half that payment."
As for the self employed, informal workers as well as contract and part-time workers, they have to make CPF contributions and meet the criteria to enjoy the Workfare Special Payment.