Being Fair

1. Abide by the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices

The Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP) help organisations adopt fair and merit-based employment practices. All Singapore-based organisations are expected to abide by the Tripartite Guidelines.

According to the Guidelines, employers must recruit and select employees on the basis of merit (such as skills, experience or ability to perform the job), and regardless of age, race, gender, religion, marital status and family responsibilities, or disability. This list is not exhaustive and highlights more common examples of discrimination. TAFEP will look into all cases of workplace discrimination, even if they arise from attributes that are not cited as examples in the Guidelines.

 

Being Fair

Fair employers develop merit-based workplaces by adhering to the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, and implementing good employment practices.

Fair employment practices are based on the five principles below.

Recruit Based on Merit

Recruit and select employees on the basis of merit (such as skills, experience or ability to perform the job), and regardless of age, race, gender, religion, marital status and family responsibilities, or disability.

Respect Employees

Treat employees fairly and with respect and implement progressive human resource management systems.

Provide Fair Opportunities

Provide employees with fair opportunity to be considered for training and development based on their strengths and needs to help them achieve their full potential.

Reward Fairly

Reward employees fairly based on their ability, performance, contribution and experience.

Comply with Labour Laws

Abide by labour laws and adopt the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices.

 

For additional information on how the Tripartite Guidelines may apply to the following employment practices, refer to:

Note: 
Under the Fair Consideration Framework , employers who do not abide by the Tripartite Guidelines will face scrutiny from the Ministry of Manpower and have their work pass privileges curtailed. For example, they could be debarred from making and renewing work pass applications.

With effect from 1 Oct 2020, all employment agencies (EAs) have to meet new licence conditions to strengthen fair hiring practices. The new licence conditions will require EAs to comply with fair recruitment requirements stated in the TGFEP when recruiting on behalf of their clients. View the “Fair Recruitment Requirements - What Employment Agencies need to know” video here
 
 
 

Job Advertisements

When stating the selection criteria in job advertisements, ensure that they are related to the qualifications, skills, knowledge and experience of the candidates. Don't use words or phrases that can come across as discriminatory.

The Tripartite Guidelines state what you must do as a fair employer. For additional information on how the Tripartite Guidelines may apply, refer here 

Age

  • In general, avoid using age as a selection criterion unless you are bound by legal or regulatory requirements. In such cases, you may state this upfront. You may also state that a job is suitable for older workers, in support of national efforts to enhance employment opportunities for older workers.
  • If the nature of the job is physically demanding, such as in the handling of heavy cargo, state this requirement in the job description and avoid indicating a specific age group.

For example,

You can state You should not state
  • Candidates are required to load and unload sacks of rice of at least 10kg each.
  • Candidates are required to handle heavy equipment.
  • Recruiting cashiers. Job is suitable for older workers.
  • Minimum aged 21 and above
  • Below 30 only
  • Age 25 to 30 only
  • Young/Youthful working environment

Gender

  • Avoid using gender as a selection criterion unless practical requirements are involved. In such cases, you must state the reason clearly.
  • State that "both genders may apply" for gender-centric job titles (e.g. draughtsman, chambermaid).

For example,

You can state You should not state
Health spa requires female therapists to do personal body massage and spa treatments for its female customers.
  • Strong guys needed
  • Preferably female
  • Female working environment

Race

You should avoid using race as a selection criterion.

For example,

You can state You should not state
All races are welcome.
  • Chinese/Malay/Indian preferred
  • Chinese/Malay/Indian only
  • Chinese/Malay/Tamil speaking environment

Religion

Avoid using religion as a selection criterion unless the job requires the applicant to perform religious functions or fulfil religious certification standards. In such cases, you must present the requirements clearly, objectively and sensitively.

For example,

You can state You should not state
Hindu priest required to perform wedding ceremony.
  • Christian/Buddhist/Muslim/Hindu preferred
  • Christian/Buddhist/Muslim/Hindu only

Language

  • If you require proficiency in a particular language, clearly state the reason for it.
  • Ensure that your job advertisement is in the same language as your advertisement media. If your job has any other language text, you should provide the reasons for it, which must be job-related.

For example,

You can state You should not state
  • Chinese-language teacher for pre-school centre, good credit in 'O'-Level Chinese required.
  • Translator for a leading Malay sports magazine. Proficiency in Malay is a must.
  • Tour Guides to take Chinese/Japanese/Indian tourist groups. Knowledge of Mandarin/Japanese/Indian dialects is essential.
  • Bilingual in English and Mandarin/Malay/Tamil
  • Native English language/speaking
  • Mandarin/Malay/Tamil
  • Mandarin/Malay/Tamil language/speaking is an advantage
  • Tagalog/Thai language/speaking

Nationality

Avoid using nationality as a selection criterion. In particular, words or phrases that indicate a preference for non-Singaporeans should not be used.

For example,

You can state You should not state
Only Singaporeans
  • Non-Singaporeans/SPRs/foreigners/international candidates/specific nationality/preferred/welcome/only/can also apply/will also be considered
  • 新公民 ("New citizen") preferred/welcome/only
  • Specific nationality in describing job roles or titles, for example Italian chef preferred, Spanish secretary welcome
  • Native English speaker preferred/welcome/only
  • Candidates with Korean as first language preferred
  • Candidates’ whose Mother Tongue is Tagalog will have an added advantage
  • EP/S Pass/WP/DP/LTSVP Holders preferred/welcome/only
  • Work passes will be applied for successful candidates
  • S Pass quota available
  • Completed, are exempted from, or are not liable for National Service

Marital Status and Family Responsibilities

Avoid using marital status or family responsibilities as a selection criterion.

Job Application Forms

The Tripartite Guidelines state what you must do as a fair employer. For additional information on how the Tripartite Guidelines may apply, refer here.

  • Review your job application form to ensure that each field is relevant to the job (e.g. skills, qualification and experience). You may refer to TAFEP's sample job application form (Word document) for more guidance.
  • Remove fields on age, gender, race, religion, marital status and family responsibilities, or disability. If you require information that may be viewed as discriminatory, you should state your reasons clearly.
  • Remove fields on photographs or national service liability. If you require these for specific purposes, you should request for these at the point of job offer or state your reasons clearly.
  • Allow for other forms of identification (e.g. passport number), as NRIC numbers can reveal the age of a person. If you require an applicant's NRIC number for specific purposes, you should request for it at the point of job offer, or state your reasons clearly.

For example, for the post of a Clerical Assistant:

You can ask You should not ask for
  • Whether the applicant has the required skills (e.g. IT and literacy skills).
  • Whether the applicant has experience in a similar job.
  • Age (e.g. NRIC, date of birth)
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Marital status and family responsibilities (e.g. whether pregnant or have children)
  • Disability
  • Photographs
  • National service liability

Job Interviews

The Tripartite Guidelines state what you must do as a fair employer. For additional information on how the Tripartite Guidelines may apply, refer here 

  • Create a list of selection criteria and apply this consistently for all candidates.
  • Create a list of interview questions that are directly related to the selection criteria. You may refer to TAFEP's list of non-discriminatory interview questions for more guidance.
  • Create a proper record of the interview, assessment process and job offer made, and keep these documents for at least one year.
  • Avoid asking discriminatory questions. If you must ask questions that may be perceived as discriminatory, explain these reasons to your interviewee.
  • Be transparent on your job requirements. For example, you should inform your interviewee if the job has irregular working hours or requires frequent overseas travel.
  • If you require a specific dress code, bring up the request in a clear and sensitive manner.
  • If you are unable to accommodate religious practices due to operational reasons, share your concerns in a clear and sensitive manner.
  • If tests are to be used for selection purposes, ensure that they are related to the job requirements, and review them regularly for relevance and unbiasedness in content or scoring.

For example, for the job of a Project Manager:

You can ask You should not ask
  • How did you handle some of your past projects?
  • How did you contribute to the outcomes achieved?
  • Why do you think you are suitable for this position?
  • How old are you?
  • What is your race and religion?
  • Are you married?
  • Are you planning to have children soon?
  • Do you have any disabilities?

Grievance Handling

The Tripartite Guidelines state what you must do as a fair employer. For additional information on how the Tripartite Guidelines may apply, refer here

  • Handle all complaints of discrimination seriously.
  • Conduct proper investigations into complaints.
  • Respond to the affected person promptly and proactively.
  • Record and file grievances confidentially.
  • Treat both complainant and respondent fairly.
  • Involve unions in the process for unionised companies.
  • Conduct training for all managers and supervisors involved in handling grievance.

Performance Management

The Tripartite Guidelines state what you must do as a fair employer. For additional information on how the Tripartite Guidelines may apply, refer here

  • Develop measurable standards for evaluating job performance.
  • Review your criteria regularly to check against discrimination.
  • Document and keep all performance reviews for at least one year. This will help you appraise objectively during the next appraisal.
  • Set up an internal appeal process to address employees' questions or concerns on their appraisals.
  • Communicate posting and training opportunities to all eligible employees.

Dismissals

The Tripartite Guidelines state what you must do as a fair employer. For additional information on how the Tripartite Guidelines may apply, refer here

  • Conduct an inquiry to allow your employee to present his/her case before you make a decision on dismissal. For more information, you may refer to Termination Due to Employee Misconduct .
  • Pay your affected employee on the last day of employment or within three working days from the date of dismissal

Retrenchment

Before you start any retrenchment exercise, please refer to the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment (PDF) for alternative solutions.

The Tripartite Guidelines state what you must do as a fair employer. For additional information on how the Tripartite Guidelines may apply, refer here

  • Always consult the unions (if your company is unionised).
  • Consider alternative solutions (e.g. job redesign or upskilling).
  • Use fair and objective criteria to select employees for retrenchment, and be empathetic.