SINGAPORE - A pioneer batch of 18 cleaning companies received their licences to operate yesterday under a move to improve the wages of cleaners.
The firms range from cleaning giant Veolia ES Singapore Industrial, which has over 1,000 staff, to Leng Yan General Services and Supplier, which has 60 cleaners.
These firms are now bound by law to pay their workers a minimum monthly basic wage of $1,000. The salary increases to $1,600 for cleaning supervisors.
Another 110 or so firms have submitted licence applications to the National Environment Agency (NEA), but about 85 per cent of the estimated 900 cleaning firms here have yet to do so.
"Cleaning firms have another four months to meet licensing requirements," said the NEA yesterday.
Without a licence, firms will not be able to offer their services from September.
Employers caught doing so unlicensed may get a fine of up to $10,000 or a jail term of up to 12 months. Those engaging unlicensed cleaning firms may also be fined up to $10,000.
Before the licensing rule took effect from last month, the cleaning sector was largely unregulated and industry players suppressed wages to win new business.
The Government amended the law in February, which in effect set a compulsory tiered wage system for different jobs in the sector.