This article was first published on 18 January 2019 and updated to reflect latest benefits rolled out in the light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
With over 900,000 members, NTUC is one of the most popular membership programmes in Singapore. But what exactly does it mean to be an NTUC member and is it worth the annual subscription of $117?
We examine the monetary and non-monetary benefits that NTUC members get to enjoy to help you decide.
What Is An NTUC Membership?
The NTUC membership is administered by the National Trades Union Congress, a national confederation of trade unions, as well as a network of professional associations and partners across all sectors in Singapore.
There are two types of membership available – Ordinary Branch and General Branch. If the company you are employed under has a relationship with their respective union, you will become an ordinary member under the union.
The union will represent Ordinary Branch members in wage negotiations and workplace issues. On the other hand, General Branch members do not have such rights, but can still enjoy the same social benefits as General Branch members, such as NTUC FairPrice rebates, Plus! Privileges and NTUC Club facilities.
To be eligible for a membership, applicants need to be at least 16 years of age, and they must not be personnel from the Singapore Police Force, Singapore Prisons, Auxiliary Police Bodies, foreign domestic workers and full-time students. The monthly subscription is $9 a month, with the exception for the month of December, where the subscription is $18.
An NTUC membership grants you both monetary and non-monetary benefits.
#1 Plus! Programme
All NTUC members are automatically enrolled as Plus! Members, a consumer loyalty programme administered through its subsidy NTUC Link Private Limited.
Plus! members can earn LinkPoints by shopping at Plus! partners, including NTUC FairPrice supermarkets and Unity Pharmacies. For example, you will receive 2 LinkPoints for every $1 spent at all NTUC FairPrice supermarkets, with a minimum spending of $20 in a single receipt issued on the same day. The LinkPoints accumulated can then be used to offset next purchase at selected Plus! partners.
NTUC members are also eligible to sign up for the NTUC Plus! Visa credit card which provides additional perks, such as petrol discounts, on top of the usual NTUC membership benefits and privileges.
#2 Dividends And Cash Rebates From NTUC FairPrice
As an NTUC member, you are entitled to dividends and cash rebates from purchases made at NTUC FairPrice and Unity pharmacies. Cash rebates are based on purchases of up to $6,000 in the last financial year.
To be eligible for NTUC FairPrice Rebates and Dividends, you need to sign up as a NTUC FairPrice member. This can be done by subscribing to 20 NTUC FairPrice shares at $1 each and pay a one-time entry fee of $3. There is also a “Join Now Pay Later” scheme where you can pay for the 20 shares and entry fee with the rebates earned later on.
Dividends and rebates are subjected to approval at the respective Annual General Meetings each year.
#3 Membership Discounts And Privileges
NTUC members also get to enjoy discounts and privileges in dining, entertainment and lifestyle, as well as exclusive birthday treats.
Union members and their spouses who are 65 years of age and below are automatically covered against death and total & permanent disability of up to $40,000, under the NTUC GIFT group insurance. Union leaders can get double the amount of sum assured. In addition, members can also sign up for NTUC Income’s LUV Term Life Insurance at a preferential rate.
#4 Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP)
Do note that some criteria must be met in order to be eligible for UTAP subsidy, such as attaining a minimum attendance of 75% of the course duration, and sitting for all prescribed examinations.
#5 U Stretch And U Care Back To School Vouchers
Eligible NTUC members can seek financial assistance under the U Stretch and U Back To School Vouchers Programmes, a part of NTUC-U Care Fund’s core assistance programmes.
The NTUC U Stretch Vouchers Programme helps eligible members to cope with their daily necessities with the U Stretch Voucher. Each voucher provides a $2.50 discount off every $5 purchase at the participating NTUC Social Enterprises. Successful applicants will receive $100 worth of vouchers if they have dependent(s) living in the same household, or $50 if they have no dependent.
The Back To School (BTS) Vouchers Programme helps eligible NTUC member cover some of their children’s school expenses for the new school year. Successful applicants will receive a booklet of vouchers worth $125 for each eligible school-going child.
#6 NTUC Care Fund (COVID-19) And LIFT-UP Pathfinder
Eligible NTUC members who are impacted by the sudden loss of income due to the COVID-19 outbreak may receive a one-off cash relief of up to $300, under the NTUC Care Fund (COVID-19)
Members must be retrenched from their jobs with benefits of not more than $6,500. Otherwise, they will need to earn a monthly gross personal income of $3,400 (or up to $1,500 for those without dependants) and are either suffering from an income drop of at least 30% of their monthly salary, or self-employed persons whose incomes have been adversely affected due to the job cancellations arising from COVID-19.]
Eligible members can also apply for LIFT-UP Pathfinder, which provides customised training worth up to S$500, to members with the intent to lift themselves out of their current circumstances and bring about more sustained improvements to their lives.
#7 NTUC Training Fund (Self Employed Persons)
Self-employed persons who have lost significant earnings due to cancellation of their jobs can tap onto the NTUC Training Fund (SEPs) to go for training during this lull period. When these self-employed persons attend and complete courses under SkillsFuture Series and approved sector-specific training programmes, they will receive a training allowance of up to $10 an hour.
#1 Workplace Advisory & Representation
The NTUC Workplace Advisory is a free online service for union members to seek advice and assistance on workplace as well as employment-related matters.
Ordinary Branch members from unionised companies have access to workplace representation for wage negotiations and workplace issues. On the other hand, General Branch members from non-unionised companies can seek professional advice from a dedicated team of experienced industrial relations practitioners.
#2 Legal Clinics
NTUC members have access to free basic legal advice with volunteer lawyers via the Law Works initiative, a partnership between NTUC and the Law Society of Singapore. It provides a series of legal primer talks for targeted groups of working professionals and monthly legal clinics for general legal advice and guidance.
Do note that only basic legal advice and information are provided at the legal clinic. There will be no drafting or vetting of documents and letters, and each session will not exceed 20 minutes.
#3 Employability Programs and Career Opportunities
NTUC provides support to enhance employability and provide platforms to seek career opportunities. With the support from the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), members have access to career fairs, employability workshop, place and train programme and career support programmes.
#4 U Network
NTUC members can sign up to be a member of the U Network. It is a Labour Movement initiatives to enable professional development, training, placement and networking opportunities for workers in different sectors, on top of traditional services such as protection and representation for the workers.
The U Network is comprised of Affiliated Unions and Associations, U Associate, U PME, U SME, U FSE. Members of the U Network are able to interact with fellow associates and unions to exchange ideas, learn from various leadership, share best practices and more.
U Network members can also seek assistance from the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM), which provides walk-in advisory services to help resolve workplace issues.
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