of Economic and Social Councils
and Similar Institutions
Date of creation
Consultation and advisory
The NWC's mandate is to formulate wage and wage-related guidelines through tripartite consultation and achieve orderly wage adjustments.
The NWC meets annually to (i) formulate general guidelines on wage policy, (ii) to adjust the wage structure with a view to developing a coherent wage system consistent with long-term economic development, (iii) advise on an incentive system that promotes productivity and efficiency.
The NWC takes into account key indicators such as GDP growth and prospects, productivity growth, inflation, and labour market indicators. Public views are also sought before the NWC meets, and taken into consideration when drawing up Guidelines. Deliberations during the NWC are confidential until the Guidelines are issued. The non-attribution principle is observed. The NWC Guidelines provide a legal basis and are mandatory for negotiation between and implementation by employers and trade unions, once they are gazetted under the Employment Act. The collective bargaining process commences after the NWC Guidelines are issued. Negotiation between companies and unions is undertaken, reflecting what is laid out in the Guidelines and the situations each company faces. Non-unionized companies also use the Guidelines as a reference in determining wage increases for their employees. The Guidelines are also used when both parties seek mediation and adjudication in cases where they do not reach an agreement.
ILO Type Tripartite G, W, E
The NWC is comprised of representatives of the tripartite social partners: government representatives as well as an equal number of representatives of business and workers. Business representatives come from the SNEF, the Singapore Business Federation, the American, Japanese, German and local ethnic chambers of commerce (Chinese, Malay and Indian), while worker representatives come from the NTUC plus the leaders of selected trade unions. The government representatives come from the MOM, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Economic Development Board, and the Public Service Division. Alternate members from the three parties are also appointed for the purposes of ensuring adequate representation and providing additional inputs.
Officials of the MOM serve as the NWC’s Secretariat.