Manpower Minister Josephine Teo announced during a visit to software company Salesforce that companies who are found to prefer hiring foreigners over Singaporeans will face harsher penalties.
This is part of the latest update to the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF).
Harsher penalties include being banned from applying for new work passes for a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 24 months.
This is an increase from the minimum debarment period of six months.
That’s not all though, they will not be allowed to renew existing work passes, when previously, companies who were penalised were still able to renew their existing work passes.
S’pore Government Will Punish Companies That Discriminates Against S’poreans When Hiring Harshly
So why are they doing this?
A Ministry of Manpower spokesperson explained the reason behind the harsher penalties. He said, “We think in terms of understanding of what is fair employment, generally companies, they get it.”
“What’s left we feel are some of the cases where there is discriminatory intent and that (cannot be solved with just) education anymore, but we also need to have more penalties.”
Mrs Teo also added on, saying that these harsher penalties will send out the message that “if employers want to continue their operations in Singapore, they would have to hire locals”.
“This will mean stronger deterrence against workplace discrimination of any kind. More importantly, it sends a clear signal about the need for fairness at work,” she said.
Companies Who Have Been Penalised
Thus far, five companies have been penalised under the new rules since they were put into place beginning January 2020.
These companies include
- Nihon Premium Clinic
- Meyer Burger (Singapore)
- Tarantula Global Holdings
- Meow Services
- Ti2 Logistics
Their punishments will include a ban from hiring new foreign workers and renewing existing work passes for at least 12 months.
Meyer Burger (Singapore) and Ti2 Logistics, on the other hand, will face a 24-month restriction.
Ti2 Logistics was charged with making a false declaration, which is a criminal offence under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act so that they could hire foreigners.
The other companies failed to fairly consider local candidates.
Meow Services was also identified to have discriminated based on gender when it tried to recruit male production operators.
“We will look for documentary evidence, we will look for explanation from the company (and) the company directors, we can take statements from the personnels involved as well,” a MOM spokesperson said.
It’s worth mentioning that most of these cases were identified after complaints were made to the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).
An investigation that took around three to six months for each case was then launched.