19 Apr 2012, 6.14PM
Speaking at a Conference on Fair Employment Practices, Minister of State for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin said that while there are no anti-discrimination laws in Singapore, employers are expected to follow a set of Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices. The Ministry of Manpower will also not hesitate to take firm action against employers who blatantly disregard the guidelines.
“Singaporeans want good jobs and they want to be treated fairly and with dignity, so with Singapore’s diverse population, there is no place for discrimination,” Mr Tan said.
To date, 400 employers have been approached by the authorities, following allegations of unfair employment practices. Thereafter, none have continued with any discriminatory practice that is not in compliance with the guidelines.
Citing The Americans with Disabilities Act study, which found a drop in the employment of persons with disabilities after the law was introduced, Mr Tan cautions that the introduction of rigid rules may end up “harming the very people we are trying to help”. He said that Singapore’s tripartite approach is unique as unions, businesses and the Government work together to address these discriminatory issues and find best solutions. Nevertheless, he assured that underlying these efforts is a range of levers that MOM can bring to bear if needed.
Mr Tan also updated that since the guidelines were enhanced in October 2011, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP) has approached over 100 employers on nationality-related allegations on a range of concerns, such as job advertisements expressing preference for foreigners, foreign supervisors favouring their countrymen and exclusionary behaviour. All discriminatory job advertisements were quickly removed when not compliant, and two employers were also issued with warnings. Employers approached have accepted TAFEP’s advice, with some taking extra steps to review the hiring patterns of their individual business units.
Nevertheless, Mr Tan acknowledged the challenges faced by employers who need to have access to foreign talents due to limitations in competencies and skills in certain areas. He said that the challenge is to find the right balance between these different considerations, which are valid to one degree or another.
Read MOS Tan’s Speech on “Strengthening Fair and Responsible Employment
” and the full CNA article on “MOM to take firm action against employers who discriminate
What else can be done to further encourage fair employment practices among companies? Share with us your thoughts!