Government takes action against firms with unfair hiring practices

Guidelines require companies to consider Singaporeans fairly for job opportunities

Government takes action against firms with unfair hiring practices
The Government has taken action against 50 firms who “have not been receptive or cooperative” about hiring Singaporeans since being placed on the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) watchlist.

More than 500 Employment Pass (EP) applications from these employers have either been rejected by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) or withdrawn by the companies, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say in Parliament on Monday.

“We have not seen enough improvement after 6 months of engagement with them,” said Lim as reported by Channel News Asia. “We will continue to curtail their work pass privileges until they improve.”

The FCF sets out expectations for companies to consider Singaporeans fairly for job opportunities. Save for specific exemptions, the FCF applies to all firms – they must comply with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices.

"The (watchlist) is a negative measure taken against 'unfair' employers, who are just a small minority of firms,” Lim said. There were 250 companies in the FCF watchlist at the end of February this year, The Straits Times reported.

Lim said some have responded positively, as they have increased recruitment and training of local talent. These firms have collectively hired 800 more locals since being placed on the watchlist, according to the Straits Times report.

"I want to emphasise that a vast majority of the employers are treating our locals fairly. We hope our action against these unfair employers will help reshape the local-foreign mindset for the better,” Lim said.

Those in the watchlist face being placed in the “slow lane” of the MOM’s development schemes and services, in contrast to firms employers with fair workplace practices in the “normal lane.”

“This will send a clear message to all employers that foreign manpower is and will always be an integral part of our Singapore workforce,” said Mr Lim. “However, we do expect and require all employers to give fair consideration to the recruitment and development of our local manpower.”

Companies in the “fast lane” are those who are part of the Human Capital Partnership (HCP) Programme It is a tripartite initiative of the Government, unions, and employees that brings together employers who have committed to grow their businesses and stay competitive by having progressive employment practices, and developing their human capital.

Local employees occupy two-thirds of the country’s workforce. HCP wants to see foreign employees complement the local workforce rather than compete with it.

Related stories:
Government aims to “speed up” adoption of progressive HR practices
How do most foreign-worker pay disputes end?

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