The National Wages Council (NWC) Guidelines were published on 31 May 2016.  The guidelines cover the period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017.  The recommendations are applicable to all employees – management, executives, provessionals, rank-and-file employees, unionised and non-unionised employees, and re-employed workers.  Employees in both private and public sector organizations are covered.

The key recommendations are summarised below:


The NWC recognizes that Singapore’s labour force participation rate is already very high and that further growth in the local workforce would be muted.  In light of this, the NWC recommends that:

  • employers continue to transform to be more productive and to continue to be market competitive
  • employers take advantage of Government initiatives and participate actively in sectorial transformation programmes.  Specifically, employers shoudl explore the use of technology, and to build a strong Singaporean core to ensure long term sustainability
  • employers provide opportunities to help employees learn new skills to remain relevant in the long run

Specifically with regard to wages, NWC recommends that:

  • employers which have done well and have good business prospects should reward their workers with built-in wage increases, and variable payments commensurate with the firms’ performance;
  • employers which have done well but face uncertain prospects may exercise moderation in built-in wage increases, but should reward workers with variable payments commensurate with the firms’ performance; and
  • employers which have not done well and face uncertain prospects may exercise wage restraint, with management leading by example.

NWC recommends that employers:

  • grant low-wage workers a built-in wage increase in the form of a dollar quantum and a percentage.  This will give the low-wage workers in the firm a higher percentage built-in wage increase;
  • grant a built-in wage increase of $50 to $65 for low-wage workers earning a basic monthly salary of up to $1,100; and
  • grant an equitable and reasonable wage increase and/or one-off lump sum based on skills and productivity for low-wage workers earning above $1,100.


The NWC further urges service providers of outsourced services to factor in the annual wage adjustments and the annual wage supplement (AWS) for workers into new contracts.  Buyers and service providers shoudl take into account the experience and performance of outsourced workers when employment contracts are offered or renewed.

Other recommendations include:

  • employing older workers and economically inactive persons – the NWC encourages employers to tap on various Government funding (such as WorkPro and the Special Employment Credit) to recruit and retain back-to-work women and older workers; and
  • managing retrenchments responsibly – the NWC endorses the Tripartite Guidelines on Managing Excess Manpower and urges employers who have to release employees to do so responsibly and fairly.