Singapore addresses workplace discrimination
The committee, comprising representatives from the government, unions and employers, will deliberate on whether legislation is “the best policy option” in tackling workplace discrimination, said Singapore’s Manpower Minister Tan See Leng.
The minister was responding to MPs who raised issues on fairer hiring practices and stiffer enforcement and penalties against firms with discriminatory hiring practices in view of the fact the current tripartite guidelines are a “weak deterrence” against discrimination and are “routinely flouted”.
Dr Tan said, “On the one hand, legislation will provide a clear premise to publicise the names of companies found to have breached the law. On the other hand, we should be mindful of unintended consequences. For example, if not properly designed, the legal framework could be overly onerous and inadvertently deter employers from setting up shop here and hiring the very groups we seek to protect.”
He emphasised the importance of the country staying open. “The combination of skilled locals and a diversity of foreign expertise is a key competitive advantage for us in drawing many international companies here, creating more good jobs for Singaporeans. We want to work towards fairer and more progressive workplaces, while preserving our competitiveness.”
Dr Tan will co-chair the TCWF with NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) president Robert Yap. TCWF members will include employer, union, human resource community and senior government representatives.
TCWF is tasked with upholding workplace fairness and examining policy options in tackling workplace discrimination and aims to complete its work by the first half of 2022, according to the Ministry of Manpower.