Contributed by Choo Yan Ping
Note: The views expressed in this article are the writer's own and do not represent Young NTUC.
1) How did the Inclusive Growth Programme (IGP) start?
In a bid to drive productivity by advancing business operations, promote inclusive growth and ease the impending labour crunch, the IGP was launched in August 2010. This two-year-old initiative aims to help companies redesign jobs, intensify the use of automation or mechanisation, promote best-sourcing and incentivise company-speciﬁc training programmes for employees.
The scheme was so successful that by 2012, an additional funding of $70 million was given.
2) What are the qualifiers?
Productivity improvements should have measurable indicators such as revenue or value-add per worker.
The value of low-wage jobs in the company should be improved and the wages of the 20th percentile of the workforce or those earning $1700 or less per month, be increased.
Companies have to demonstrate that its operations and staff benefit from the project such that business operations are more efficient, produce higher quality products and services and/or become faster in adapting and responding to market conditions. The productivity gains in terms of profits are also shared with the low wage earners in the company e.g. increase in salaries, performance incentives, etc.
Examples of eligible projects include the purchase of equipment, process re-engineering, registration of intellectual property rights, adopting Best Sourcing Initiative (BSI) standards, training programmes and job redesign.
3) What kind of funding do participating businesses get?
Participating businesses are entitled up to $150,000 per project and $500,000 per company in a year where there is up to 50% co-funding for equipment/technology and process re-engineering as well as up to 90% co-funding for training directly relevant to productivity improvement.
4) Are there any special conditions?
Participating companies have to fulfill 2 main conditions: The local workforce should not be downsized and productivity should not just be measured based on longer working hours.
5) How is the IGP linked to NTUC’s e2i?
NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) administers the IGP to enable a business partnership with unions, industry bodies and agencies so as to reach out to more low-wage workers.
6) What does it mean when companies make work Easier, Safer & Smarter?
When work is made easier, less is required to perform the same or more of the job.
When work is made smarter, more work is done or produced from the same or less effort put in.
When work is made safer, the probability of health-related problems occurring at work is minimised and the overall health of workers improve.
7) Who can benefit from the IGP?
For a win-win-win (employer, employee and government) initiative such as the IGP, everyone benefits. The effect of more effective organisations snowballs when employees, employers, unions, customers and eventually the country as a whole becomes happier.