More than 40,000 Singaporean cleaners will benefit from a new law making it mandatory to pay them an annual bonus.
From January 2020, permanent residents working as cleaners could receive a payment of up to four per cent of their wages each year. Businesses failing to comply with the requirement may be fined or risk losing their licence. However, the legislation does not apply to Singapore’s 17,000 foreigners working as cleaners.
The annual bonus requirement forms part of a progressive new model for the industry. Singapore is leading the way in terms of enhancing the image of cleaning, improving the cleaner’s lot and using innovation and technology to transform environmental services.
For example, the country’s government recently voted to expand the use of its Pneumatic Waste Conveyance System. This uses air pressure to convey waste through sealed pipes from throw-points to a bin centre.
The PWCS replaces the need for cleaners to collect waste from individual housing blocks and take it to a bin centre. And since the entire system is enclosed, problems associated with odour and pests are reduced.
As recently reported in ECJ, grants are currently being offered to building-owners to persuade them to use tools and technologies that mechanise the tasks of cleaning and waste management. Demand for environmental services is rising fast in Singapore and it is becoming increasingly difficult to source the required number of cleaning workers.
And in August it was reported that Singapore’s Nee Soon Town Council was to host an appreciation dinner for cleaners. According to the authorities these essential workers “rarely receive the gratitude and recognition they deserve”.