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MOM COS 2024: Strengthening, uplifting and caring for Singaporeans

Together with NTUC and the Singapore National Employers Federation, the Ministry of Manpower said it will support workers in taking on better jobs, help businesses become more competitive and foster more progressive and inclusive workplaces.

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By Shukry Rashid 04 Mar 2024
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The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that as it moves alongside Singaporeans through every life stage, it will ensure that no one is left behind.


The ministry made several announcements during its Committee of Supply (COS) debate on 4 March 2024. MOM also gave further details to initiatives announced during Budget 2024.


“Our priorities for this year are centred on three themes: Strengthening you, uplifting you and caring for you … The Government will continue working closely with our tripartite partners on all three focus areas,” said Manpower Minister Tan See Leng.


New initiatives


Retirement and re-employment ages


In 2026, the retirement age will be increased from 63 to 64, and the re-employment age will be increased from 68 to 69.


As announced in 2019, the retirement and re-employment ages will be progressively raised to 65 and 70, respectively, by 2030.


In response to the announcement, NTUC Deputy Secretary-General Heng Chee How said he welcomes the move.


Mr Heng said that it is one of the calls he has consistently made in Parliament, including in his Budget debate speech last week. 


"This is the most impactful way to boost our older worker’s retirement adequacy and to extend their effective working years," he added.


Career Conversion Programmes


MOM will increase Career Conversion Programmes (CCP) salary support caps and expand the eligibility of existing employees who qualify for reskilling in growth jobs.


For mature or long-term unemployed workers eligible for up to 90 per cent salary support, the salary support cap will be raised from $6,000 to $7,500 per month.


For other CCP participants eligible for up to 70 per cent salary support, MOM will increase the salary support cap from $4,000 to $5,000 per month.


Following the enhancements, employers can receive up to $45,000 of salary support for each trainee for a typical six-month programme.


CCP reskilling support for existing employees was previously limited to employees in at-risk or vulnerable job roles.


Moving forward, MOM will support reskilling any existing employee taking up growth jobs identified under the Industry Transformation Maps or Jobs Transformation Maps.


Enhancing the CCP was one of the calls by NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay during his COS debate speech.


Dr Tan urges employers to work with Workforce Singapore to explore how they can tap into the CCP to meet their talent needs.


He said that the Government is not working on the endeavour alone.


“We are supporting NTUC to set up more Company Training Committees, or CTCs, to work hand-in-hand with company management to drive business and workforce transformation.


“We are working with NTUC, SNEF, and other TACs in the Financial Services, ICT, Retail and Precision Engineering sectors to implement structured career guidance workshops. This will equip line managers and HR with capabilities to support their workers in developing career development plans,” added Dr Tan.


Employment Pass qualifying salary


MOM will increase the Employment Pass (EP) minimum qualifying salary from $5,000 to $5,600 monthly. The EP minimum qualifying salary will increase from $5,500 to $6,200 for the financial services sector, which has higher wage norms.


The revised EP qualifying salary will apply to new EP applications from 1 January 2025 and renewal applications from 1 January 2026.


Dependency Ratio Ceiling in marine shipyard sector


To nudge the sector to pivot to more productive and resource-efficient activities, the Dependency Ratio Ceiling in the marine shipyard sector will be reduced from 77.8 per cent to 75 per cent (from a ratio of 1 local:3.5 Work Permit Holders or S Pass holders to 1 local:3 Work Permit Holders or S Pass holders).


These changes will take effect from 2026.


Initiatives announced during Budget 2024


Progressive Wage Credit Scheme


MOM will increase co-funding of the Progressive Wage Credit (PWCS) from 30 per cent to 50 per cent.


The wage ceiling for PWCS co-funding will be raised in 2025 and 2026 from $2,500 to $3,000.


Local Qualifying Salary


The Government will raise the Local Qualifying Salary (LQS) from $1,400 to $1,600.


Firms hiring foreign workers must pay all their local workers at least the LQS (or Progressive Wage Model wages, where applicable).


The change will be implemented on 1 July 2024.


NTUC Operations and Mobilisation Division Director Fahmi Aliman said that there are concerns amongst employers that raising the LQS will elevate business costs.


In response, Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said that the Government will further enhance the Progressive Wage Credit Scheme this year to help employers cope with LQS increases.


Workfare Income Supplement and Workfare Skills Support


From 2025, MOM will raise the qualifying monthly income cap from $2,500 to $3,000 for Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) and Workfare Skills Support (WSS).


The maximum WIS payment will also be increased from $4,200 to $4,900.


Matched Retirement Savings Scheme and Silver Support Scheme


The Enhanced Matched Retirement Savings Scheme (MRSS) will be extended to those above 70 years old.


The Government will increase the maximum support quantum from $600 to $2,000 per year, with a cap of $20,000 that applies over a CPF member’s lifetime.


The number of Singaporeans eligible for MRSS will double to 800,000.


The Government will increase the quarterly payments for the Enhanced Silver Support Scheme (SSS) by 20 per cent across all payment tiers.


The qualifying household monthly income per person threshold will also be raised from $1,800 to $2,300.


The MRSS and SSS changes will start in 2025.


CPF Contribution Rates


From 2025, senior workers above 55 to 65 will see an increase in their employer and employee contribution rates by 0.5 and 1 percentage point, respectively.


CPF Enhanced Retirement Sum


From 2025, the Enhanced Retirement Sum (ERS) will be raised from three to four times the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS).


CPF Special Account


From early 2025, the Special Account (SA) for CPF members aged 55 and above will be closed.


The portion of SA savings that will form part of their retirement payouts will be transferred to the Retirement Account up to the Full Retirement Sum. The rest will be transferred to the Ordinary Account.


Boosting retirement adequacy is a call made by NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Desmond Choo during his debate speech.


Mr Choo also asked about the timing of the SA’s closure.


In response, Dr Tan said that the closure of the SA is part of the evolution of the CPF system.


“The CPF system is designed to provide members with income in retirement, as well as support their housing and healthcare needs as core priorities.


“The CPF system’s primary objective is not to serve as an alternative investment instrument in retirement, nor to build up bequests for beneficiaries, which some members seem to be hoping for,” explained Dr Tan.