Changes in four areas of the workforce may be the focus in the upcoming review of the Employment Act.
These areas include fast-rising wages, an increase in the number of professionals, managers and executives, the need to boost medical benefits of low-wage workers and more foreigners in the workforce.
The Employment Act sets out minimum employment terms and benefits, it also provides redress for workers to recover salaries and resolve disputes with employers.
The Government recently announced that the Employment Act will be reviewed this year to keep up with changes in employment practices due to Singapore's workforce becoming more educated.
Median gross monthly income rose from $2,000 in 2008 to $2,925 in 2011. The Act was last amended to cover workers earning up to $2,000 each month.
More workers may not be protected by the Employment Act if the salary ceiling does not go up.
The stipulated $4,500 salary limit which allows professional, managers and executives (PMEs) to turn to the MOM and Labour Court for help in salary disputes may also be unrealistic today.
More PMEs in the workforce, and a high median wage for these workers - median incomes have risen to $6,300 for managers and below $4,399 for the bottom quarter - means only about one in four managers are covered by the act.
If the $4,500 ceiling is not raised, more PMEs risk falling out of the protection of the law.
The Straits Times also said that the medical benefits of low-wage workers may need to be boosted.
Currently, employers are required by law to bear the doctor's consultation fees. But they need not pay for medication, treatment or hospitalisation fees unless it is in the contract made with the worker or the collective agreement signed with the union.
Hence, workers who are not unionised may suffer if employers dodge paying their medical fees.
The Straits Times said providing medical insurance for hospitalisation and surgery set at a minimum of $15,000 a year can be extended to local workers.
The English daily said that this won't be financially difficult for companies as basic health plans go for as low as less than $30 for a worker below 65 years old.
Currently, only foreign workers are provided such medical insurance by their employers.
The Straits Times also said that it is time to deal with the issue of discrimination as there is rising tension between locals and foreigners due to a much bigger proportion of foreign workers in the workforce.
The Singapore workforce has seen an increase in the number of foreigners working as PMEs in services jobs such as infocomm, retail and customer service.
The English daily suggested taking another look at the anti-discrimination law previously suggested.
Fair employment watchdog Tafep (Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices) said the top complaint it received was that bosses preferred foreigners over Singaporeans.
However, Tafep does not have legislative force and enforcement clout.
Such an anti-discrimination law will have to take into account the different interests of various parties.