View Poll Results: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

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Thread: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

  1. #1
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    Default Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    Our MM don't think so. On one hand the lower earner will surfer, more foreign worker, cheap labour. On the other hand it reduce the business cost, more competitive economy, more jobs (high or low pay job, though some may be to foreign worker as local don't want to work at that low wage).

    Quote Originally Posted by www.straitstimes.com
    Social divide 'inevitable'
    By Jeremy Au Yong
    Global competition cuts wages at the bottom but boosts those at the top
    HAVING a minimum wage in place here to narrow the income gap could do more harm than good, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said last night.
    In fact, every country that has set a minimum wage over what the market will bear has found that the move cuts jobs, he noted. Employers who are forced to deal with higher staff costs would simply find ways to hire less people.
    That is why Singapore's approach has been to create as many jobs as possible, while leaving the market to decide the right level of pay. The rationale for this is that having any job is better than having no job at all. 'Never mind your Gini coefficient. If you don't have a job you get zero against those with jobs. So our first priority is jobs for everybody,' he said.
    The Gini coefficient measures the income distribution across a country and is often used as gauge of the income gap.
    MM Lee was responding to a question about what Singapore could do to narrow its income gap. Mr Elvin Ong, a fourth year social sciences and business student from the Singapore Management University, had asked him what Singapore could do to help its bottom 20 per cent.
    The gap between the haves and have-nots is a recurrent political issue in Singapore and there have been concerted efforts by the Government to do more for the low income group.


    Read the full story in Tuesday's edition of The Straits Times. jeremyau@sph.com.sg
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    I believe if we as a society don't mind to pay MORE for labour, housing, goods, etc., than we can have a minimum salary and have less foreign workers (for jobs that Singaporeans don't mind to do lah)........I think most people don't want to pay more for things, that's why companies have to cut costs. We live in a capitalistic society, so everything has to be weighed in to maximise profits.

    I do think sometimes helping the poor in society is in a way maximising 'human'e' profit'......cause the society as a whole will have less poor people.........

    Also, rental is high, and not all of these costs can be offset by the customers as you will loose business, so need to cust costs somewhere else, e.g.. hire foreigners who are willing to work for less and work at longer or odd hours.

    I think Singapore can afford a basic healthcare system for everyone (cause no one chooses to be sick, most gets sick not of their own deeds), paid from extra (small) tax as premium......but perhaps that's another discussion

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    Last edited by hongsien; 20th October 2009 at 02:48 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    its never their policy... same as no Union for upper level employees... they will protect the business first which will give them the revenue...

    minimum wages maybe only apply to themselves only...
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    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    Quote Originally Posted by flowerpot View Post

    minimum wages maybe only apply to themselves only...
    that's true......

  5. #5

    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    If I own a restaurant and tomorrow Singapore introduces a minimum wage that is higher than what I pay my waitresses then I will need to

    1) Cut costs (fire some waitresses, use cheaper ingrediants, put off renovating my restaurant)
    2) Charge more for what I'm selling ($5 for chicken rice instead of $3, $2 for barley instead of $1)
    3) Accept a lower profit or even make a lost (how many business owners will do this?)

    If 1 happens, customers will complain and go elsewhere. If 2 happens and it happens with every other business my waitresses will complain that even with their higher wages they still can't lead a comfortable life, young people will still shun waitressing and I will have no choice but higher retired people or foreign workers. If I can't adopt 1 and 2 then it will mean that 3 will happen, then I might as well close my business and find a job as a waiter.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    How about have a minimum number of month bonus?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    Quote Originally Posted by zj2000 View Post
    If I own a restaurant and tomorrow Singapore introduces a minimum wage that is higher than what I pay my waitresses then I will need to

    1) Cut costs (fire some waitresses, use cheaper ingrediants, put off renovating my restaurant)
    2) Charge more for what I'm selling ($5 for chicken rice instead of $3, $2 for barley instead of $1)
    3) Accept a lower profit or even make a lost (how many business owners will do this?)

    If 1 happens, customers will complain and go elsewhere. If 2 happens and it happens with every other business my waitresses will complain that even with their higher wages they still can't lead a comfortable life, young people will still shun waitressing and I will have no choice but higher retired people or foreign workers. If I can't adopt 1 and 2 then it will mean that 3 will happen, then I might as well close my business and find a job as a waiter.
    2) happened when they raise the GST. Chicken rice raised from $2 to $2.50.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    Quote Originally Posted by zj2000 View Post
    If I own a restaurant and tomorrow Singapore introduces a minimum wage that is higher than what I pay my waitresses then I will need to

    1) Cut costs (fire some waitresses, use cheaper ingrediants, put off renovating my restaurant)
    2) Charge more for what I'm selling ($5 for chicken rice instead of $3, $2 for barley instead of $1)
    3) Accept a lower profit or even make a lost (how many business owners will do this?)

    If 1 happens, customers will complain and go elsewhere. If 2 happens and it happens with every other business my waitresses will complain that even with their higher wages they still can't lead a comfortable life, young people will still shun waitressing and I will have no choice but higher retired people or foreign workers. If I can't adopt 1 and 2 then it will mean that 3 will happen, then I might as well close my business and find a job as a waiter.
    if i own a restaurant and 1 day there are severe unemployment, i will take advantage and offer the lowest wages i can possibly can, who cares about those i employ earn enough or not... i make money more important...

    minimum wage policy imo is about giving a fair remuneration... if times are good, then the minimum wage should be higher, times are bad, then it should be adjusted accordingly...
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    Sg should not have min wages.

    But should have a cap on business property rentals. No point cut wages while all "savings" goes to rents.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    i thot we r all receiving the minimum wage as it is?
    do we need a law for that?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    Quote Originally Posted by zj2000 View Post
    If I own a restaurant and tomorrow Singapore introduces a minimum wage that is higher than what I pay my waitresses then I will need to

    1) Cut costs (fire some waitresses, use cheaper ingrediants, put off renovating my restaurant)
    2) Charge more for what I'm selling ($5 for chicken rice instead of $3, $2 for barley instead of $1)
    3) Accept a lower profit or even make a lost (how many business owners will do this?)

    If 1 happens, customers will complain and go elsewhere. If 2 happens and it happens with every other business my waitresses will complain that even with their higher wages they still can't lead a comfortable life, young people will still shun waitressing and I will have no choice but higher retired people or foreign workers. If I can't adopt 1 and 2 then it will mean that 3 will happen, then I might as well close my business and find a job as a waiter.

    I think that the minimum wage issue is not just about whether it makes business sense but whether it is morally right to pay someone $600 a month in Singapore for honest work.

    We can't think about everything strictly from a business point of view. Because apart from making money everyone has social responsibility. Yes even businesses.

    Having any job is better than no job at all? If MM believed in the market setting its rates then WHY ARE THEY BRINGING IN SO MANY CHEAP FOREIGNERS???They're basically distorting the market.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    Quote Originally Posted by zj2000 View Post
    If I own a restaurant and tomorrow Singapore introduces a minimum wage that is higher than what I pay my waitresses then I will need to

    1) Cut costs (fire some waitresses, use cheaper ingrediants, put off renovating my restaurant)
    2) Charge more for what I'm selling ($5 for chicken rice instead of $3, $2 for barley instead of $1)
    3) Accept a lower profit or even make a lost (how many business owners will do this?)

    If 1 happens, customers will complain and go elsewhere. If 2 happens and it happens with every other business my waitresses will complain that even with their higher wages they still can't lead a comfortable life, young people will still shun waitressing and I will have no choice but higher retired people or foreign workers. If I can't adopt 1 and 2 then it will mean that 3 will happen, then I might as well close my business and find a job as a waiter.
    If your business overheads suddenly jack up by a huge amount simply because of the introduction of a minimum wage, then you either have alot of waitresses or your margins are too low.
    Are you saying that you pay your waitresses very very little?
    If we introduce a minimum wage of $6 an hour, how much will your business costs rise?
    $2000?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    I myself was quite shocked knowing that Singapore does not have a minimum wage system, having started working overseas for the first 7 odd years of my working life.

    Like what Mattlock has mentioned...it's more of a moral issue than a business issue.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    It's all about keeping competitveness... perhaps at the expense of some human rights.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    Quote Originally Posted by limwhow View Post
    It's all about keeping competitveness... perhaps at the expense of some human rights.

    we're a developed nation.
    Shouldn't what we're offering in terms of being competitive be higher value services and products which have higher margins?
    It's not like we can compete with the phillipines where a bottle of coke is 25 cents.

    competitiveness with who exactly?
    minimum wage is dealing with businesses still operating with unskilled/low level skill workers.
    These industries aren't exactly the ones that are competitive with the rest of the world.

    And a suggested minimum wage hasn't be specified in Singapore. $6? $7? What do you think is reasonable?
    I don't think anyone should be paid less than $6 an hour.
    I think it's good to see also which industries exactly are paying a wage so low that it's below a seemingly appropriate minimum wage (I couldn't find any reference to any figures)

    from my guess it's: maids, construction workers, cleaners, service staff.
    Interesting how alot of these are jobs filled up by foreigners.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    well, there are always arguments on both sides. there always have been, in any country.

    since most of the arguments for the "for" side have been presented, here are some for against:

    1) people will demand wage differentials; i.e. if you set it at $6/hr as mattlock suggests, then someone who was earning $6/hr will demand that his wage increase too, since someone previously possibly earning $4/hr is earning what he is earning now. and this goes on. the people at $8/hr, will want $10/hr. you get the idea, it doesn't necessarily have to be a $2/hr increase across the board.

    2) a simple response to firms used to "cheap labour" is simply to not employ as much labour. and extend working hours of current workers. you can always extend hours unofficially depending on how you see it.. which solves nothing. zero sum game because there are many ways around minimum wage laws, no matter how structured and rigid they get.

    3) the resultant falling profits for firms employing "cheap labour" simply leads to a happier outcome for everyone, when even more minimal working training is carried out. instead of the customer service officer who parrots you phrases from a standard phrase book, you're going to get people who don't even seem to know what company they're working for.

    4) small companies who rely on being "immoral" as mattlock sees it will get driven out of business. do not demonise everyone employing cheap labour (waitress, cleaners, delivery personnel).. some of these are just small fry people, not rich towkays growing fat at the expense of malnourished, thin, hungry people.

    5) you just worsen the problem of foreign employment.
    Last edited by night86mare; 21st October 2009 at 04:42 AM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    Tum podem extulit horridulum...日出東方﹐唯我不敗。

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    Hm rough calculation

    $6 x 8hrs of work in a day (reality probably more than 8 hours) x 30 days a month (no day off) = $1440
    $6 x 8hrs of work in a day (reality probably more than 8 hours) x 26 days a month (day off once a week) = $1248

    Are maid paid that much? I doubt. But again one could argue that they dont have to spend on rent, utility and food.
    Given the choice probably most of them (esp those who know the system already) would rather pay rent, utility and food and work hour really 8 hours.
    Last edited by aryanto; 21st October 2009 at 09:32 AM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    well, there are always arguments on both sides. there always have been, in any country.

    since most of the arguments for the "for" side have been presented, here are some for against:

    1) people will demand wage differentials; i.e. if you set it at $6/hr as mattlock suggests, then someone who was earning $6/hr will demand that his wage increase too, since someone previously possibly earning $4/hr is earning what he is earning now. and this goes on. the people at $8/hr, will want $10/hr. you get the idea, it doesn't necessarily have to be a $2/hr increase across the board.

    2) a simple response to firms used to "cheap labour" is simply to not employ as much labour. and extend working hours of current workers. you can always extend hours unofficially depending on how you see it.. which solves nothing. zero sum game because there are many ways around minimum wage laws, no matter how structured and rigid they get.

    3) the resultant falling profits for firms employing "cheap labour" simply leads to a happier outcome for everyone, when even more minimal working training is carried out. instead of the customer service officer who parrots you phrases from a standard phrase book, you're going to get people who don't even seem to know what company they're working for.

    4) small companies who rely on being "immoral" as mattlock sees it will get driven out of business. do not demonise everyone employing cheap labour (waitress, cleaners, delivery personnel).. some of these are just small fry people, not rich towkays growing fat at the expense of malnourished, thin, hungry people.

    5) you just worsen the problem of foreign employment.
    1) Yup, their manpower costs will increase. But it shouldn't be far from $2 (like someone wanting a $10 raise per hour).

    2) That's what labour laws are for (dealing with "unofficial hours" and whatnots), and is not a good response to why we SHOULDN"T have a minimum wage

    3) What is your basis for this? Or is this just what you imagine will happen?

    4) don't exaggerate. "malnourished, thin, hungry".sheesh. Small businesses usually don't hire that many staff. Staff costs are less an issue than rent. If I raise the staff costs $1000, that's still much less than alot of rent increases over the past 2 years.
    But wages haven't risen in tandem with inflation the same way rent has risen exponentially faster than inflation.

    5) if you have a minimum wage, then foreign employment becomes less of an issue because they can't undercut (less foreigners with lower standards of living willing to work for less
    money)

    The thing is we are no longer some backwater country with regards to pay.

    aryanto I think that many might actually want to keep the money. I think certain professions will be opposed to raising the monthly income through a minimum wage, due to their heavy reliance on cheap manpower.
    such as: cleaning companies, construction industry, maid agencies, some F&B, contractors
    But we need to think what are the consequences of not having

    As long as we have alot of immigrants coming into Singapore we need to consider that many of them are willing to take low pay just to get a job.and employers will take advantage of that.
    And what happens is that after that employers will complain that they find it hard to hire Singaporeans as opposed to foreigners because singaporeans are so "picky". Let's consider the other side of the story that the terms offered by these companies are not feasible for a Singaporean living in Singapore to maintain a decent simply lifestyle, and cannot compete against a guy from China living with a few mates in a 2 bedroom HDB.

    So by allowing unrealistically low wages we encourage certain social problems, in terms of a social divide in income, together with an unhappiness towards foreigners who are willing to work cheaply (since most of their money gets remitted back anyway)

    A minimum wage is a good way to ensure a certain protection for employees, because if you leave it to employers they will prefer to pay $0 if they could to people. You see this in photography where people are constantly asking for services for free.

    I guess the first question to ask is: What is considered a decent amount of money per month to make to survive in Singapore decently (not hand to mouth)

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Do you think Singapore should have minimum wage?

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    And what happens is that after that employers will complain that they find it hard to hire Singaporeans as opposed to foreigners because singaporeans are so "picky". Let's consider the other side of the story that the terms offered by these companies are not feasible for a Singaporean living in Singapore to maintain a decent simply lifestyle, and cannot compete against a guy from China living with a few mates in a 2 bedroom HDB.
    Exactly

    But hey, as far as business owners are concerned, the ends justify the means.

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