SINGAPORE: Increased Penalties for Discriminatory Employers
In January 2020, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore has strengthened its Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) for greater deterrence against workplace discrimination.
MOM has raised the administrative penalties across the board for all discrimination cases:
- The minimum period of work pass debarment has increased from 6 months to 12 months. For more egregious cases, the debarment period can be up to a maximum of 24 months.
- The debarment scope has expanded to include work pass renewals in addition to new work pass applications.
As the duration of most work passes is two to three years, for a 12-month debarment, one-third to half of the work passes cannot be renewed. For a 24-month debarment, up to all the work passes cannot be renewed, and the firm cannot hire new foreign workers.
In addition, MOM will prosecute errant employers or key personnel who make false declarations that they have considered all candidates fairly. Employers convicted of false declaration under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act will face imprisonment of up to 2 years, or fine up to SGD 20,000, or both. The first prosecution of an errant employer has recently been brought.
The Fair Consideration Framework, introduced in 2014, requires companies with 10 or more employees to give fair consideration to Singaporeans by advertising vacancies for jobs paying below SGD 15,000 per month on on MyCareersFuture.sg for at least 14 days before applying for an Employment Pass for a foreign national.
MOM reserves the right to take action against employers that do not adhere to the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices.
Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.