Employment agencies will be held accountable for breaches in discrimination laws, according to MOM
Employment agencies in Singapore are duty-bound to uphold Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices despite their clients’ requests, said representatives from MOM and the Public Service Division (PSD).
“To safeguard the interests of jobseekers, MOM will not hesitate to investigate employment agencies reported to have assisted any employer with unfair recruitment practices, even if these were carried out at the request of their clients,” the representatives said in a letter to the Straits Times.
“Should their clients directly or indirectly ask them to practise discriminatory recruitment practices, the employment agencies owe them a duty of care to advise them that this is unlawful.”
Then Yee Thoong, divisional director at MOM’s labour relations and workplaces division, and Low Peck Kem, chief HR officer and senior director at PSD’s CHRO office and workforce development, had written jointly in the letter.
The stern stance was made clear in response to another letter by a reader who said that “it is not reasonable to expect employment agencies to defy the instructions of their clients”
In 2017 alone, MOM investigated 27 agencies for discriminatory employment practices. Of those investigated, 20 were issued demerit points for placing discriminatory job ads.
For the remaining 7 cases, MOM found that there had been misunderstandings or valid mitigating factors.
Additionally, the letter also made clear that MOM will not take lightly employers’ assertions that they are forced to pay foreign hires more than locals due to salary criteria for employment pass and S Pass holders.
The letter called such claims “disingenuous” as the pay criteria for foreigners takes reference from salaries of local PMETs.
“Such an attitude violates the spirit of the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices and invites scrutiny under the Fair Consideration Framework,” it added.