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All Singaporean cleaning businesses will soon have to be licenced
When the Environmental Public Health Amendment Bill came into force in Singapore on Tuesday, cleaning businesses were reminded to submit their applications for cleaning business licences soon or risk not having a licence by the 1st September 2014 deadline.
All general cleaning businesses - even if these services form only part of their overall business, will have to be licensed and clients will now also be tasked with checking that their cleaning service providers are licensed, via the NEA website.
The licensing regime requires licensees to have written employment contracts, provide training and have a progressive wage plan. This ensures that cleaners receive wages which are commensurate with their skills, training and productivity. An estimated 55,000 resident cleaners will benefit from the scheme.
In addition, service buyers and consumers can look forward to more reliable and better quality cleaning services.
"The new licensing scheme will serve to raise the productivity, professionalism and the service standards of the cleaning industry," says NEA's Chief Executive Officer, Ronnie Tay. "Cleaning businesses are strongly encouraged to send their cleaners for training and to apply for their licenses early so that they can continue business operations without any disruption."
The Commissioner for Labour has considered and fully adopted the recommendations for resident cleaners' starting basic wages. Cleaning businesses seeking to be licensed will need to submit a progressive wage plan for resident cleaners, specifying basic wages no less than the wage levels for each class of cleaners under the Progressive Wage Model. Licensed cleaning businesses must also provide their cleaners with pay slips and employment contracts that state wages in accordance with their submitted progressive wage plan.
From 1st September 2014, the Commissioner for Labour will enforce the PWM requirement for all new contracts, which cover all service contracts entered into from 1st April 2014. For all other existing service contracts entered into before that date, cleaning businesses will have until 1st September 2015 to pay cleaners' wages according to the PWM.
Cleaning businesses would need to have at least 50% of their cleaning staff trained in at least one module within the Environmental Cleaning Workforce Skills Qualifications framework at the point of first application. At the time of their first licence renewal, 100% of their staff should be trained.
Mr Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive of the Singapore Workforce Development Agency says: "To support cleaning businesses in meeting the licensing requirements, WDA has worked with our training partners to provide flexible and accessible training through initiatives such as on-site and bite-sized training. We strongly urge all cleaning businesses to start scheduling their staff for training now, ahead of the licensing deadline."
From 1st September 2014, general cleaning businesses found operating without a valid licence will be liable to a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or up to, 12 months' imprisonment, and $1,000 every day for continuing offences. Licensed cleaning businesses found to be in breach of licensing conditions may also face a maximum financial penalty of $5,000. They also risk having their licences suspended or revoked.
Service buyers must also ensure that their cleaning service providers are licensed or they risk being fined up to $10,000 and $1,000 every day for engaging unlicensed cleaning businesses.
3rd April 2014