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Published: Saturday May 24, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday May 24, 2014 MYT 8:14:56 AM

Direct Wage Credit payouts unlikely

COMPANIES have received their first payouts from a scheme that subsidises wage increases, but most large firms are unlikely to hand the money directly to employees.

More than 10 prominent companies were contacted about their plans for the first Wage Credit Scheme payout, which went out in March.

While almost all declined comment, The Straits Times understands that many large companies are planning to channel the funds towards training and skills upgrading for staff.

Under the Wage Credit Scheme introduced in the 2013 Budget, the government subsidises 40% of pay rises given to Singaporean workers earning up to S$4,000 (RM10,400) a month. It expires next year.

The scheme came under the spotlight earlier this week when local lender OCBC Bank announced that it would be handing out its first S$3mil (RM7.8mil) payout to about 1,500 staff.

The bank is believed to be the first major company here to completely disburse the money to workers.

Victor Mills, the chief operating officer and acting chief executive of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, said firms “should do the most appropriate thing for the companies and their employees”.

“Larger companies usually focus on training and development. The point is to increase companies’ capabilities.”

Mills added that the chamber had not found it necessary to issue guidelines to members on how to use the money, as “it is entirely up to them”.The chamber represents more than 700 global companies here.

The Singapore National Employers Federation said feedback showed that most employers were using the funds to offset higher business and manpower costs. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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