The National Wages Council (NWC) Guidelines were published on 31 May 2018.  The guidelines cover the period 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019.  The recommendations are applicable to all employees – management, executives, professionals, rank-and-file employees, unionised and non-unionised employees, and re-employed workers.  Employees in both private and public sector organizations are covered.  Workers who are re-employed are also covered under these guidelines.

The key recommendations are summarised below:


Enhance Productivity by Transforming Businesses and Upgrading Skills

The NWC urges all employers to spur productivity and innovation, to strengthen enterprise capabilities to deploy workers, ideas and capital effectively, to create good jobs with good wages, to equip workers with deep skills, and to deepen and diversify international linkages.  This transformation is guided by the 23 Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) that have been developed.

Recommendations for All Workers

The NWC has reaffirmed the principle that wage increases will need to be sustainable and fair.  The NWC recommends that:

  • employers who have done well and have good business prospects should reward their workers with built-in wage increases, and with variable payments commensurate with the firms’ performance;
  • employers who 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 firm’s performance; and
  • employers who have performed poorly and face uncertain prospects may exercise wage restraint, with management leading by example, and should make greater efforts to improve business processes and productivity.

The NWC further encourages companies that have achieved productivity improvements in 2017 to share the gains with workers through a one-off special payment.

Recommendations for Low-Wage Workers

The NWC noted the progress made for low-wage workers.  It has recommended to further raise the basic wage threshold from the current $1,200 per month to $1,300 per month.

The NWC also recommends that:

  • employers grant low-wage workers a built-in wage increase in the form of a dollar quantum and a percentage in order to give the low-wage workers a higher percentage built-in wage increase;
  • employers grant built-in wage increases of between $50 and $70 for low-wage workers earning a monthly wage of up to $1,300; and
  • employers grant a reasonable wage increase and/or one-off lump-sum payment based on skills and productivity for low-wage workers earning more than $1,300 per month.

The NWC further urges employers who have achieved productivity improvements in 2017 to provide an additional one-off special payment of between $300 and $600 to low-wage workers earning up to $1,300 per month, either in a lump-sum or over several payments.

Other Recommendations

Other recommendations include:

  • for employers to design age-friendly jobs and workplaces and to train older employees to perform more effectively;
  • for employers to NOT use age as a selection criterion when hiring; and
  • for employers to implement flexible work arrangements and family-friendly workplace practices, and to recruit and retain back-to-work women as a source of skilled manpower and talents.