Live Well. Laugh Often. Love Much.

Let’s come clean.

Just the other day, I was having my dinner with Sharleez at the nearby hawker center.



I could not help but notice how frantically busy one particular cleaner was while we were enjoying our dinner. It’s just my nature to observe others whenever I am outside. The cleaner happened to be an elderly lady and she was struggling to clear the tables.

As I was watching her, I could not help but notice how most of the diners there did not bother to say thanks or meet the cleaner’s eyes. How much does she earn as a cleaner? Is it enough to cover her bills and expenses? What happens on days when she is not well enough to work?

There were quite a number of tables to be cleared because it was dinner time, so you can pretty much imagine how crowded the hawker centre was.

The cleaner looked very apologetic when there was one patron standing behind her, waiting for the table to be cleared.

How often have we gone to fast food chains or hawker centres, and frowned when we see the tables not cleared? How many times have we waited till the tables were thoroughly cleaned, instead of helping out?

How many times have we thought,

“Why are the tables still not cleaned? Where are the cleaners??”

But how many times have we really put ourselves in their shoes?


I do not know about you, but I cringe each time I have to clear the dining table at home. 


Might seem like the simplest thing to do, but try doing it on repeat mode.

My girls love to eat or snack on something every fifteen minutes or so.

And who has to help them clear the table each time?


Ya that’s me, complaining about clearing my own dining table at home.

Do cleaners even have the chance to complain?

And it’s sad to know that many service buyers of cleaning services engage in CHEAP SOURCING where the cheapest quote wins their business. Doesn’t take a lot to figure that out since cleaning is a manpower reliant industry; the ones who bear the hit are the cleaners.

So what can be done to help alleviate the situation?

I first heard about the PROGRESSIVE WAGE MODEL (PWM) during a session with NTUC, and was invited to blog about the PWM so that more people will be aware of it. My understanding is that it does not just prescribe a minimum wage point, but it actually has a career path tagged with different skills, productivity levels and most importantly, salary ranges. In other words, just like what we have come to expect when we apply for jobs ever since we graduated, every cleaner in Singapore today can also expect a proper career progression pathway.

Just have a look at the Progressive Wage Model right below and you will understand what I mean.



Your salary does not have to remain stagnant forever.

You need to know that your salary can actually increase the longer you work.

The PWM has come into full effect for the cleaning sector from 1st September 2014. Cleaners will be paid a base salary of at least $1,000.  You can read more about it HERE

If you come to know of any cleaners who are not paid according to the law, please blow the whistle to the NEA and they will take action to remove the cleaning company’s licence. Yup yup. That’s how serious they are this time round about getting it right. Awesome, isn’t it?

By the way, the next time you see a cleaner taking a bit too long to clear the table, do not be too hard on them.

Do not use a magnifying glass to check if they have cleaned properly.

Instead, take the time to smile and them and thank them for clearing your table.

Your empty stomach can grumble and rumble all it wants.

LIKE this post if you agree that cleaners should be treated better.

LIKE this post if you agree that cleaners are not being paid sufficiently for the work they have been doing.

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posted by admin in Life,Parenting,Share & Support,Sharleez Nadya and have Comments Off on Let’s come clean.

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