Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin has explained why the People’s Action Party (PAP) opted for the Workfare scheme rather than a minimum wage.
In a video posted on the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Facebook page, Mr Tan said: “What Workfare does is help to boost what individuals may be earning, but without imposing that burden on companies that may be worried about their bottom line. This is meant to help individuals, to make sure they remain employable.”
First introduced in 2007, Workfare supplements the incomes and retirement savings of older Singaporean workers earning up to S$1,900 a month, and provides funding support for their training.
In the lead-up to the General Election, opposition parties have stepped up their call for the Government to implement a minimum wage.
Mr Tan, who was the Manpower Minister from 2014 to May this year, said a minimum wage system would have the “inadvertent side effect” of causing some Singaporeans to lose their jobs. “These companies may not be prepared to pay that wage level. We've seen that happening in other countries,” he said.
Implementing a minimum wage would be a far easier solution for the Government, Mr Tan said. “But we’ve chosen to take a more difficult path as we believe that the path of Workfare, the path of a progressive wage model, is a better model because it looks after our people in a much better way.”