27 February 2020

The Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”) has strengthened the penalty framework for non-adherence to the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (“Guidelines”) to ensure greater deterrence against workplace discrimination.

The Fair Consideration Framework sets out requirements for all employers in Singapore to consider the workforce in Singapore fairly for job opportunities. Employers should not discriminate on characteristics that are not related to the job, such as age, gender, nationality or race. All employers in Singapore are expected to adhere to the Guidelines, which set out fair employment practices that employers should adopt.

Longer debarment period

MOM has raised the administrative penalties for all discrimination cases. The minimum work pass debarment period has increased from six months to
12 months.

For more egregious cases, the debarment period could last up to 24 months.

Scope of debarment expanded to include work pass renewals

The scope of debarment has been expanded to include work pass renewals, in addition to new work pass applications.

Most work passes have a duration of between two and three years. Thus, with a 12-month debarment, one-third to half of the work passes cannot be renewed. With a 24-month debarment, up to all the work passes cannot be renewed, and the firm cannot hire new foreign workers.

Prosecution for making false declarations

In addition, MOM will prosecute employers or key personnel who make false declarations that they have considered all candidates fairly. Employers convicted of false declaration under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act could face imprisonment of up to two years, or a fine of up to S$20,000, or both.

MOM will trace the line of accountability to the individual level. This means that all individuals involved in the false declaration, whether it is the CEO, the human resource manager or the hiring manager, will be held responsible.

Reference materials

The following materials are available on the MOM website www.mom.gov.sg:


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