NEA issues first batch of cleaning business licenses

The National Environment Agency or NEA has issued the first batch of licenses to 18 cleaning companies. 

They're a mix of small and large companies. 

NEA says it's currently processing another 116 applications. 

Under the Environmental Public Health Amendment Bill passed by parliament last month, all cleaning companies have to be licensed by 1 September. 

And training is a key requirement for licensing. 

To help firms meet licensing requirements, the NEA had increased training spaces to up to about 4,500 per month, starting from last month until August. 

Speaking to the reporters on the sidelines of a training session, Environment and Water Resources Minister, Vivian Balakrishnan explains why training is important for the cleaners. 

"Our top priority is safety. Many take cleaning and the performance of cleaning for granted. But in fact, it's a weak point if we don't pay attention to safety, to hygiene and to protecting the long term health of our cleaners. The second objective is to uplift productivity and in particular, the use of equipment. If all these things can help improve productivity, it can also help us achieve the longer term aim which is to raise the wages and the employment conditions for our cleaners."

Other requirements include mandatory written employment contracts and implementing a Progressive Wage Model. 

And as of March this year, over 31,000 cleaners out of the estimated 69,000 cleaners have been trained.