Minimum Wage for the CPF

The Government’s decision to not require businesses to issue payslips to their employees is “prompted by strong objections from small businesses”, the Straits Times reported on 13 November. 
Acting Manpower Minister, Tan Chuan Jin, had given this explanation in Parliament on Tuesday. 
Apparently, the main reason for the “strong objections” was that such a requirement would add to the administrative costs of these businesses, particularly the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). 
These were concerns which “the ministry understands”, Mr Tan said. [link]

Ladies and gentleman, this. If it isn't so discernible in the past if the Ministry of Manpower exist to serve not the not the people but the interests of the government, by now this affirmation will be difficult to overlook.

Right. The neutrals may feel that we are nit picking on the MOM for their impotence to guarantee us a payslip at the end of the month but there the essence of the argument isn't about the matter but about whether the ministry is pro-business or pro-labour. We don't need to spell it out. In case any of us still place hopes on the MOM to fight for us when it comes to more meaningful agenda than a piece of payslip, such as protecting us from being denied rightful overtime pay, being subjected to ridiculous working hours or not getting paid at all, you may want to transfer the hopes to the Singapore Pools draw instead.

Recall how many wage disputes we heard every year where foreign workers camp to demand to get paid. Make no mistake, that isn't a clear indication how many unpaid PMETs are hiding the in shadows for protesting in the open is uncharacteristic of the subdued Singaporean. When it comes to workforce injustice, the MOM has been acting as a mediator between employer and employee at best, as their version of protecting workers rights. As a result of their regular "understanding" of employers' concerns, Singapore workers, including the PMET, have been subjected to working conditions or hours without fair compensation.

On the other hand,

SINGAPORE — Employers who do not pay, underpay or are late in contributing to their workers’ Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts could face stiffer penalties, including being jailed, under proposed amendments to the CPF Act tabled in Parliament yesterday. 
Instead of the current S$2,500 maximum fine for a first offender, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has proposed imprisonment of up to six months, as well as doubling the maximum fine to S$5,000. Fines will also start from S$1,000, if the Bill is passed. 
For repeat offenders, jail terms could be up to one year, and fines may start from S$2,000. The maximum fine of S$10,000 for such offenders remains unchanged under the proposed changes.
In response to media queries, an MOM spokesperson said: “The CPF Act will be amended to effect various CPF policy changes. Various technical amendments will also be made to streamline the administration of CPF matters.” [link]

The same guys who told Singaporeans that the ministry understands concerns is adamant to send your boss to jail if he does not pay up your CPF on time. Here's the big question you should be asking your minister: What is stopping the MOM from restricting the act to just the CPF but not our REAL wages? So to the MOM, it is okay if we are not paid on time or accurately but it is not okay for CPF. Ladies and gentlemen, tell your minister which is your immediate concern, to be guaranteed a timely and accurate wage payment so that you can provide food on the table everyday or CPF funds that you may never live to see in future?

The labour force, as usual, will suffer the implications of passing such an act. Employers who used to do under the table negotiations with employees about their mode of payment will not be able to do so without risking themselves to the act. That does not change the amount of money the employer is willing to pay an employee. The employee will soon be told he will receive a paycut because of the rest of the money is going straight into the CPF. On the employers' end, he is still paying the same amount of money so it does not hurt them. The employees will take home less wages than before.

Over the years, the government has been resisting the idea of a minimum wage system. Many employers took the opportunities to exploit the workforce. So it is a real disappointment to learn that the MOM is investing time to work out policies to protect a statutory board like the CPF instead of the workforce. When the bill is passed, the CPF will receive their 'minimum wages' but what about the workers?


  1. When the state colluded with the employers, the workers will pay the price.

  2. The minimum sum in CPF is also regularly increased to ensure you have sufficient funds in retirement.