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     Proposed Workfare Bonus Scheme to help low-wage workers

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Recommendations under Other Spokes

Key recommendations under the other five spokes include:

i. Social Support to Enable Work

To help low wage workers look after their dependents so that they can return to work, the Committee recommended a new ¡°WorkSupport¡± programme, as well as enhanced case management to better support these families.

ii. Higher Skills for Better Jobs

To make skills upgrading more accessible and relevant to low wage workers, the Committee recommended:

- Expanding the Workforce Skills Qualifications System (WSQ)

- More training in employability skills.

- More accessible training funds for atypical workers and workers in SMEs.

iii. Expand Job Opportunities

To create more job opportunities, the Committee recommended:

- Accelerating job re-creation efforts to target 10,000 jobs for low wage workers each year.

- Developing more employment opportunities for low wage workers in the informal sector to supplement their Income.

iv. Hope for the Future

The Committee recommended more assistance for children from vulnerable families to complete their education, learn employable skills, and join the workforce by:

- Ensuring education and preschool education remains affordable through enhanced financial assistance for needy students and a startup grant for kindergarten education.

- Engaging and supporting students and out-of-work youths by extending school counselling and social work programmes to more schools.

- ?Helping youths acquire employable skills by enhancing vocational training opportunities.

v. Sharing in the Nation¡¯s Progress

The Committee recommended that the Government continues its surplus sharing schemes to low wage workers when the economy is doing well.

More details of the 6 spokes of the Workfare Package can be found in the Report by the Ministerial Committee on Low Wage Workers available at  www.mom.gov.sg.

Conclusion

Low wage workers have shared in Singapore¡¯s prosperity. Their wages have been rising over the years and even the lowest 20% of households by income have accumulated substantial assets. The economic landscape, however, has changed significantly in recent years. Globalisation poses great challenges and low wage workers will find it hard to cope if they do not upgrade their skills and maintain their employability.

Through Workfare, low wage workers can continue to share in Singapore¡¯s progress and be rewarded through work. Workfare is a national endeavour that requires the collective effort of all stakeholders in our society: individuals, families, unions, employers, and community-based organisations.

The Committee calls on all Singaporeans to work together to address the challenge. Only by working together, can we achieve a competitive, yet equitable Singapore, where there are opportunities and rewards for all.

Source: www.gov.sg Press Release 12 Jan 2006

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