Following a rise in cases, the ministry was asked if it will update existing standards on managing workplace harassment
Will Singapore have stricter standards to manage workplace abuse and harassment?
Earlier this week, an MP had asked in parliament whether the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will update existing guidelines to manage workplace abuse and harassment.
This is in line with the heightened focus on the issue, boosted by global movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, and the recent spike of headlines on workplace misconduct – including those involving Singapore bosses as well as global executives abroad.
Also, countries like Australia had recently launched a landmark inquiry on workplace sexual harassment.
Manpower minister Josephine Teo replied that MOM already takes a multi-pronged approach in protecting employees from workplace harassment.
This includes the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA), the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Workplace Harassment, and the Tripartite Standard on Grievance Handling, introduced in 2014, 2015 and 2017 respectively.
The latest standard, although voluntary, provides employers guidelines on how to handle workplace harassment, such as a recommendation for companies to set up proper channels for staff to raise grievances.
It also lays out guidelines for investigations, encouraging firms to specify who will hear appeals as well as how long the process will take. It also urges companies to train supervisors on managing employee feedback.
“Employers adopting this standard are committed to putting in place clear processes for handling their employees’ grievances to ensure they are adequately dealt with. The same processes apply to grievances regarding workplace harassment,” Teo said.
She added that to date, more than 630 employers, which collectively employ about 380,000 employees, have pledged to uphold this standard.
Affected employees are urged to promptly report any incidents to employers, MOM or TAFEP, or seek redress through the police.
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