The Manpower Ministry (MOM) will impose new licence conditions on all employment agencies starting 1 Oct this year. This was announced by MOM in a press release yesterday (22 Jun).
The new licence conditions will require the nearly 3,900 EAs licensed by MOM to comply with the fair recruitment requirements when recruiting on behalf of their clients.
In addition to helping their clients fulfil job advertising requirements, the employment agencies must make reasonable efforts to attract Singaporeans for vacancies that they are trying to fill.
Employment agencies must not in any way abet discriminatory hiring by their clients. They must also turn down requests from clients to carry out discriminatory hiring. Employment agencies that fail to comply with licence conditions may be issued with demerit points, have their licence suspended or revoked, or face prosecution.
On her Facebook page, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said that discrimination must not be tolerated anywhere, especially at the workplace.
“Years ago when I was expecting my first child, a well-meaning senior warned that my career progression might come to a standstill. People would assume I was no longer interested in taking on challenging assignments, or that I would no longer be able to cope. Huh?” she wrote.
“Fortunately, my other bosses were more enlightened. Fellow MP Mr Lee Yi Shyan, for example, encouraged me to telecommute after my twins were born, long before work-from-home and the technology was mature. He did not, for one minute, assume pregnancy made me any less of a person. Thank goodness for Yi Shyan.”
Both Ms Teo and Lee were working in EDB together at one time. She was with EDB from 1992 to 2002. Lee was with MINDEF from 1987 to 1991 before joining EDB at about the same time Ms Teo joined. In 2000, Lee was appointed Deputy CEO at the Productivity and Standards Board (Spring Singapore) before he was appointed CEO of IE Singapore the following year.
Ms Teo continued, “But what I’d encountered is nothing compared to what some others have experienced with discrimination. Assumptions about what people can or cannot do because of their gender, family status, age, race, disability – they haven’t gone away. Unfortunately, these assumptions become invisible barriers for their victims to get into jobs or to advance in their careers, much to their own detriment and actually that of employers.”
Notice that Ms Teo has carefully avoided mentioning “nationality” in her remark about discrimination, probably not wanting to give unnecessary “stress” to foreign PMETs working in Singapore.
In any case, in its press release, MOM urges employment agencies to do their part in helping Singaporeans to access good jobs and make progress in their careers.
Meanwhile, just today (23 Jun), one day after MOM released its PR “urging” employment agencies to also help Singaporeans to get jobs, PM Lee announced that he has advised President Halimah to dissolve Parliament and issue the Writ of Election, paving the way for GE 2020.