Out-Law News

Singapore SMEs and labour union pledge workplace gender equality

Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in Singapore are working with the country’s labour union to tackle gender bias and harassment in the workplace.

22 SMEs have now signed agreements with Singapore’s National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) to ensure the implementation of fair recruitment practices and protect employees from workplace harassment with proper complaint handing procedures. 

The initiative is led by the NTUC’s U Women and Family (U WAF) Unit and the People’s Action Party (PAP) Women’s Wing, and aims to expand participation to another 60 SMEs by the end of the year, said a local report.

Mayumi Soh of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint law venture between MPillay and Pinsent Masons said: “There is increasing awareness of such workplace gender bias and harassment issues, and this initiative is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.”

According to a statement, U WAF will engage SME employers to raise awareness of workplace harassment and gender discrimination via discussions and webinars; provide suggestions and resources to help SMEs develop their own human resources (HR) policies, communication procedures and reporting channels for workplace complaints; and offer training to SME HR mangers on how to manage such complaints.

Almost one quarter of respondents to a survey conducted by the two associations believe there is gender bias in the workplace. Only two out of five women and three out of five men are willing to report such experiences, and the major reason for not doing so is the fear of losing their jobs.

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