Ministry of Manpower reviewing measures to continue tackle workplace discrimination

NewsJuly 14, 2021 09:00

Written by: Max Loong
Sources: The Straits Times

In response to Opposition Leader Mr Pritam Singh on calls to introduce anti-discrimination laws, manpower minister Dr Tan See Leng said the ministry and tripartite partners are reviewing the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices.

Mr Singh had argued that, though the opposition party supports MOM’s Fair Consideration Framework in principle, it needs to have more teeth. Currently, employers who unfairly hire foreigners over Singaporeans are subjected only to administrative penalties, he said. He added that anti-discrimination laws with statutory penalties would send a “powerful signal” in the hiring process for businesses.

However, Dr Tan reasoned that “While anti-discrimination laws will not be a panacea for unfair employment practices, the authorities are considering all options” and announced that “Stiffer penalties may be adopted for employers who do not consider Singaporeans fairly for job opportunities”.

The existing Fair Consideration Framework allows MOM to identify firms that carry out unfair hiring practices and work with them to improve their processes. Non-compliant firms will have their work pass privileges suspended for between 12 and 24 months.

He noted that given the way the industry is changing so rapidly, being overly prescriptive can lead to jobs moving elsewhere as well.

In addition, Dr Tan said, “We are also trying to make sure we don’t inadvertently push businesses overseas. In the short run, we may seem to have some benefit, but in the long run, we actually end up losing out. So, it’s a very delicate balance.”

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