The Workfare Income Supplement (WIS), Singaporean government’s scheme aiming to help boost salaries for low-income workers is set to undergo a review soon.
The scheme is scheduled to be reviewed every three years, with the last assessment done in 2016. Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad will lead the upcoming review, with the results to be released next year, Channel News Asia reports.
Many previous recipients are reported to be no longer qualified for the wage top-ups as their incomes had grown over years. In a recent Facebook post, Mr Zaqy stated that the number of WIS recipients has fallen from 389,000 in 2015 to 366,000 in 2017. Payouts of up to S$3,600 will be given annually in cash and Central Provident Fund (CPF) top-ups for workers who are eligible to sign up for the scheme.
Mr Zaqy wrote, “On further examination, it soon became clear why this had happen. A total of 42,000 WIS recipients saw their incomes increase above the WIS income ceiling in 2016 and 2017. In other words, they ‘graduated’ out of WIS because they are now earning more. This is not a bad development at all.”
Further, he added that the salaries of low-income workers have also grown faster than inflation. Compared to median income workers, wages at the lower end also grew faster in the past five years. As for the upcoming review, Mr Zaqy has pledged to ensure that more than 20 percent Singaporean employees will continue to receive the WIS, even as their wages improve.
During the last review, WIS payouts were increased from S$100 to S$500 for those earning monthly wages of between S$1,000 and S$1,600. The qualifying monthly income ceiling was also raised from S$1,900 to S$2,000. More details on the review will be announced in Parliament this week.