This year, the government rules that have been put in place to ensure that employers do not discriminate against Singaporean workers will be updated. The Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Ms Josephine Teo announced plans to update the Fair Consideration Framework to ensure that job positions are not dominated by foreign workers.
“Expect stronger deterrence for discrimination against Singaporeans when hiring, but also stronger support for employers who are committed to giving our people a fair chance,” she said, without giving details of the review.
In a statement to the Straits Times, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that more information on the review would be disclosed in the later half of January 2020.
Teo also outlined the MOM’s key milestones in 2019, such as adopting a 10-year road map to raise the retirement and re-employment age in an effort to curb issues regarding an ageing and shrinking workforce.
In addition to this, Teo also highlighted the welfare of employees: “Everyone, including lower-wage workers, needs fair chances to progress. In a time of business disruptions worldwide, all of us need fair opportunities to re-skill and stay employed. In the unfortunate event of a retrenchment, we need fair payouts.”
Currently, the ministry is preparing for the Budget 2020 and Committee of Supply debate.
“As we begin 2020, my colleagues at MOM and I re-dedicate ourselves to strengthening fairness at the workplace as a value and a virtue. With fairness as a foundation, we can have more progressive workplace practices,” Ms Teo pledged.
Back in August 2014, the Fair Consideration Framework was introduced on the back of a slowdown in the inflow of foreign workers after many Singaporeans voiced concerns about how foreign workers were taking away good-paying, professional, managerial, and executive positions from the locals.
The rules back then stated that businesses with more than 25 employees were required to advertise professional, managerial, and executive positions that pay less than $12,000 a month. Said advertisements need to run for at least 14 days before firms can apply to the MOM for an employment pass for a foreign worker.
The framework was last updated in July 2018 to cover firms with more than 10 employees and jobs that pay less than $15,000 a month.
Under the framework, firms found to be favouring foreigners in hiring are placed on an MOM watchlist and their applications for EPs are scrutinised more closely. Since 2016, the MOM had placed 60 firms on the watchlist. Some 260 firms were removed from the watchlist once hiring practices were improved.