The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) took to Facebook today (10 August) to call for the authorities to take “greater affirmative action” after reports emerged stating that local employers have been engaging in discriminatory hiring practices.
PSP said that it is very “concerned” about this practice by some employers, citing a recent report by The Straits Times (ST).
“According to a recent report by The Straits Times, a total of 47 employers – 30 of which deal with the financial and professional services have been placed on the watch list of Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) for engaging in discriminatory employment,” it said in the post.
It added, “The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has said that the 47 employers are in addition to the 1,200 employers that have been put on the watch list.”
Additionally, MOM also stated in the ST report that it will investigate another 240 firms that have been spotted via data analytics for “possible pre-selection of foreigners and not adhering to the job advertising requirement under the FCF”.
MOM said in its statement: “We will subject their hiring to closer scrutiny to ensure that there is no nationality bias against locals, which is unacceptable and not in line with fair, merit-based hiring.”
FCF was first introduced in August 2014 following the decline of new foreign talent into the country after Singaporeans aired their dissatisfaction over foreigners taking away good professional, managerial, executive and technical (PMET) jobs from local.
The Framework requires companies with over 25 employees to advertise PMET jobs that pay less than S$12,000 a month for at least 14 days before they apply to MOM for an Employment Pass (EP) for a foreigner.
In July 2018, the Framework was updated to cover firms with more than 10 employees and jobs that pay less than S$15,000 a month.
Companies that seem to favour hiring foreign over local talent will be placed on an MOM watchlist and have their EP applications for foreign workers scrutinised more closely.
In the beginning of the year, then-Manpower Minister Josephine Yeo said that FCF will be updated this year.
“Expect stronger deterrence for discrimination against Singaporeans when hiring, but also stronger support for employers who are committed to giving our people a fair chance,” Ms Teo said on Facebook on 1 January,
She shared that MOM is ‘rededicating’ itself to strengthening fairness at the workplace as a value and a virtues.
In PSP’s post, the party said that just like other countries around the globe, Singapore is also going through an economic recoil due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The negative repercussions of the global crisis have shaken not only the health system, but also the livelihoods of citizens. With pressure coming from all sides, job stability is a primary concern for Singaporeans,” the alternative party noted.
As such, it added that despite efforts by the Framework, the party finds it “disheartening to note that local employers are still flouting the guidelines and this calls for greater affirmative action by the authorities”.
“We will continue to highlight these issues in the various forums and platforms,” PSP concluded.