Singapore’s fair employment guidelines to become law

The current guidelines on anti-discrimination at workplaces will be “enshrined” into law, giving the fair employment watchdog more teeth.
By: | September 1, 2021

This move will empower the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) when dealing with unfair recruitment practices against Singaporeans and ensuring workers get fair treatment at work. 

This was announced at prime minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech, where he said the government will create a tribunal to deal with workplace discrimination based on nationality, age, gender, race, religion and disability. 

“Writing Tafep guidelines into the law is a major move. It signals that we do not tolerate discrimination at workplaces,” the prime minister said. 

Nevertheless, he added that the legal route should be a last recourse, and said the very existence of the law should motivate parties to work harder to settle the dispute through conciliation and mediation. 

Over the years, MPs have urged the government to make Tafep guidelines into laws that carry penalties as employers can simply choose to ignore Tafep’s existing guidelines or counsel without legal consequences. 

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Tafep was set up in 2006 as a three-way partnership between the government, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation. All Singapore-based organisations are expected to abide by Tafep’s guidelines which were first launched in 2007, but the guidelines do not have any legal teeth.