Singapore firms are taking up employment standards for flexi-work and contract workers, says minister
About one in five workers in Singapore is covered by a set of industry-approved employment standards, according to figures from the Manpower Minister.
At an industry event this week, Josephine Teo shared that since 2017, over 2,600 companies with a combined workforce of 660,000 have adopted at least one standard by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).
The three most adopted practices are for flexible work arrangements, recruitment practices and employment of contract workers.
The top three sectors that have adopted at least one of the eight standards available are: info-communication technology and media, professional services, and wholesale trade.
While adoption is voluntary, Teo told media that the standards help complement existing workplace regulations to improve working conditions.
“Our aim is really to improve the working conditions of as many workers as possible,” she said. “But updating laws alone will not nearly go far enough because we also have to make sure that things that are put as mandatory requirements don't become too rigid for companies.”
Currently, the eight tripartite standards cover:
- Term contract employees
- Flexible work arrangements
- Grievance handling
- Recruitment practices
- Procurement of services from media freelancers
- Unpaid leave for unexpected care needs
- Contracting with self-employed persons
- Age-friendly workplace practices
Firms who adopt the standards will be monitored for compliance through employee feedback channels, for instance. TAFEP will step in to guide companies if they face issues meeting the standards.
Those who are non-compliant will not be allowed to use the Tripartite Standards logo, which showcases their ability brand as ‘progressive employers’.
When asked whether more standards will be introduced, Teo said they wouldn’t want to create standards just “for the sake of it” and would rather focus on improving overall working conditions at companies who have adopted the guidelines, while reaching out to more employers.
“We would like to have more but it is a good start,” she said. “I think it provides a good foundation to draw more companies into the program.”