Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

Singapore to launch new employment measures

Out-Law News | 01 Sep 2021 | 3:43 am | 1 min. read

Singapore has announced measures that its government said would protect workers against discrimination related to gender, age, race, religion or disability.

Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong’s said in a speech that guidelines produced by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practises (TAFEP) guidelines will be made into law.

The guidelines set out actions employers can take to prevent discrimination at the workplace. Lee said a tribunal will be created to protect workers against discriminations based on nationality, as well as other kinds of discrimination covered by TAFEP including that based on gender, age, race, religion or disability.

For lower-wage workers, the age to qualify for the Workfare Income Supplement Scheme (Workfare), will be lowered from 35 years old to 30 years old in two years’ time.

The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) will also be expanded to include many more workers as it will be extended to more industries, starting with retail next year, followed by food services and waste management. Such expansion will start to cover certain cross-industry occupations such as administrative assistants and drivers.

Firms which hire foreign employees will be required to pay a salary of at least S$1,400 ($1,040) to all local employees in the firm.

A Progressive Wage Mark will be introduced to accredit companies that are paying all their workers progressive wages.

Mayumi Soh of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint law venture between MPillay and Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: “Employers should familiarise themselves with the new rules and requirements and take the necessary steps to comply with the upcoming regulations.”

TAFEP was set up in 2006 by the tripartite partners, namely, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower, National Trades Union Congress and Singapore National Employers Federation, to promote the adoption of fair, responsible and progressive employment practices.

Workfare was introduced in 2007 and it is targeted at helping lower-wage Singaporean workers by topping up their salaries and helps them save for retirement.

The PWM, which was introduced in 2012, helps to increase the wages of low-wage workers in the cleaning, security and landscape sectors by upgrading their skills and improving productivity as the wages in these sectors had stagnated due to widespread cheap sourcing.