Being a cleaner in Singapore is not easy. A menial work that pays relatively low wages, cleaning is often seen as a “lowly” or undesirable occupation. Cleaners are commonly stigmatised and stereotyped as having lower socio-economic statuses and backgrounds.
Despite this, they are an extremely essential part of our society and workforce. Cleaners, among other similar essential services workers such as garbage truck drivers, have become hot topics in recent years. In particular, because lower-wage workers like them are hugely impacted by the pandemic.
Supporting lower-wage workers
During his National Day Rally 2021 speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong zoomed in on strategies to uplift lower-wage workers. He announced sweeping improvements to the Workfare Income Supplement (Workfare) Scheme and the Progressive Wage Model (PWM).
In addition, companies that hire foreign workers will have to pay all local employees a minimum salary of S$1,400. There will also be a Progressive Wage Mark to accredit companies that pay all their employees “decent wages”.
All these measures seek to provide our lower-wage workers with stronger long-term support. This is in addition to the short-term subsidies that they are receiving in areas like housing, healthcare, and education.
But these will cost us more. “Us” refers to everyone – workers, employers, the government, and consumers.
We at Helpling are in full support of these measures to help lower-wage workers. Since we do have local cleaners on our platform, we believe that these measures will be beneficial for them. They will get to earn a higher wage to support their families and see more value in their work.
We are hopeful that this can also help reduce some of the discrimination and abuse that our providers and other lower-wage workers face.
Earning a decent wage
As a cleaner booking platform, we are committed to helping all our providers earn the wage that they deserve. Not just the bare minimum for them to survive, but a wage that allows them to live comfortably and develop themselves. So that one day, they can realise their own dreams.
This is why the prices on our platform are fair and competitive. We’re waging a never-ending battle against the black market – where you can hire illegal cleaners for low prices – and unfair cleaning companies – who overwork and underpay their staff.
But, we choose to stay true to our belief in allowing our providers to live and work with dignity, for a fair wage.
At Helpling, our one-off cleaning rates start from $35/hour while regular cleaning rates (weekly/biweekly) start from $25/hour. The rates differ from cleaner to cleaner because different providers can charge different rates based on their experience or performance.
This means that local cleaners on our platform can earn up to $3,300, more than the current Local Qualifying Salary of S$1,400.
Providers under the Household Services Scheme
The majority of providers on our platform are from companies on the Household Services Scheme (HSS). The scheme allows companies to hire migrant workers to provide part-time cleaning services to households.
Under the HSS, cleaners work a maximum of 44 hours a week. They are also protected under the Employment Act. They can earn close to S$1,800 a month, depending on how much they work. This is significantly more than what a live-in domestic helper earns on average.
That’s why we strongly believe in the merits of the HSS. It allows cleaners to earn higher wages and have better protection of their rights. It also lowers the chances of abuse.
If any of our providers are abused or feel uncomfortable working for a particular customer, we do all we can to protect them, even to the extent of blacklisting customers.
Last week, the Ministry of Manpower announced that the HSS will be made permanent, thanks to the increased participation numbers and positive feedback from companies and their customers. This is great news. We’re looking forward to having more cleaners onboard our platform and helping them earn what they deserve.
We are glad to be a part of supporting lower-wage workers – both local and under the HSS – and helping them to earn a decent wage. With these measures, we are definitely taking steps towards creating a better environment for all workers.
As PM Lee mentioned, we all have to chip in to support the lower-wage workers. You too can support our efforts in uplifting our providers and helping more of them to chase their dreams.
New to Helpling? Book now to support the cleaners on our platform and help them chase their dreams!