Monday, November 29, 2010

Workfare Betterer Than Minimum Wage, Really?

At the 31st PAP party conference on Sunday, PM Lee said that "Actually, we have something better than minimum wage, we have Workfare." Actually, hor, it depends on how you define "better".

Started in 2006, the Workfare scheme gives cash and CPF monies to Singaporeans aged 35 and above who earn up to $1,700 monthly - it is a shocking testament that 30 percent of wage earners are subsisting on this amount or less.

Lee used the example of a 65-year old earning $1,000 a month (65, and still has to work to stay alive) who will get the maximum payout of $2,800 a year, of which $800 will be in cash and $2,000 goes into the CPF account. Translated in real world terms, it means only cash of $66.66 a month ($2.19 a day) extra is available for food, transportation and utilities bills. The substantial bulk of the Workfare handout is locked up in CPF, to be used as the "nest egg" for retirement at, presumably 85, as government guided trends go. Far from lying idle, truth be told, quite a bit of the funds have already been burnt in toxic investments by the financial wizards at GIC and the like.

The creation of the Workfare initiative in Singapore is claimed by some to be inspired by the US Bill of welfare reforms designed to encourage economic self-sufficiency. Apparently it was the system developed by the state of Wisconsin that served as a model for Singapore because of its numerous successes in reducing the number of recipients on welfare. There's a key difference of course, Singapore does not have a welfare system to begin with. If you still have a pair of working legs or hands, you can wipe tables or clean toilets up to the ripe old age of 90, for all they care. If you are handicapped, physically or mentally challenged, you don't get to receive the largesse of $2.19 a day at all. Which is hardly enough anyway for three meals a day, at hawker center, food court or restaurant.


  1. The Sin Leaders have many wonderful schemes for their people, just wondering about their schemes will give Singaporeans much high.
    $800 provide $2.19 for a day's meal for A YEAR, however, it can also be used for a big meal in a high class restaurant and some pleasures for a few hours. So, it depends on how it is interpreted and how the recipient goes about spending the token amount lah.


  2. Steve Mcgarret11/30/2010 1:34 AM the solution is to double the aid offered by the workfare scheme.

    If there is not enough to do this, then reduce the 2 year NS requirement to one year and use the savings to increase the workfare aid.

    The other way to beef up Workfare is to evaluate our investments thru the GIC and see where we can sell of stocks to finance an increase in the workfare scheme.

    Will the party in power do the above? maybe but unlikely.

    You dont need to be paid a million dollars to figure this out.

  3. Actually, we have something better than minimum wage, we have Workfare ..... paid in millions in exchange for my Ministars' support.

    He forgot to utter the last few words in his heart.

  4. thanks for share.