Singapore reviews measures for workplace discrimination

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), together with unions and employer groups, will review the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices
By: | July 13, 2021

This move was in response to Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh’s recent calls for the government to pass anti-discrimination laws.  

Singh had argued that, though the Workers’ 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, adding that anti-discrimination laws with statutory penalties would send a “powerful signal” in the hiring process for businesses. 

However, manpower minister Tan See Leng said while the authorities are considering all options, anti-discrimination laws will not be a panacea for unfair employment practices. He added that stiffer penalties may be adopted for employers who do not consider Singaporeans fairly for job opportunities. 

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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Introduced in 2014, MOM’s Fair Consideration Framework sets out the requirements for employers in Singapore to consider Singaporeans fairly for job opportunities before hiring foreign professionals on the Employment Pass and S Pass, according to The Straits Times.