Fair Hiring and Fair Consideration: What Employers Need to Know

Key changes to the Fair Consideration Framework and Employment Agency Licensing Conditions.

23 Sep 2020 Articles Recruitment

Employers are expected to hire fairly and give fair consideration to Singaporeans based on merit.

To ensure that employers make greater efforts to do so, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has made changes to the Fair Consideration Framework and will be imposing new licence conditions on all employment agencies when they hire on behalf of organisations. These changes will take effect from 1 October 2020.

Fair Consideration Framework (FCF)

The FCF was first introduced on 1 August 2014 and sets out requirements for all employers in Singapore to consider Singaporeans fairly for job opportunities before hiring foreign professionals on Employment Pass (EP). It was enhanced in January 2020 to raise the administrative penalties for greater deterrence against workplace discrimination.

With Effect from 1 October 2020:

  • The FCF job advertising requirement will be extended to S Pass applications to promote greater awareness of vacancies in mid-skilled jobs among local jobseekers and require employers to make greater efforts to consider local candidates.
  • The minimum FCF job advertising duration for EP and S Pass applications will be doubled from 14 to 28 days to give local jobseekers more time to respond to job openings and for employers to seriously evaluate their applications.

Employers are required to abide by the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (“the Tripartite Guidelines”) and must not discriminate based on attributes that are irrelevant to the job, such as age, race, gender, religion, marital status and family responsibilities, or disability. Those who practise discriminatory hiring practices in any form and whose PMET workforce profile suggests a bias against locals (e.g. exceptionally high shares of foreign PMETs compared to industry peers or high concentration of PMETs from a single nationality) would be placed on the FCF Watchlist for closer scrutiny on their EP and S Pass applications. TAFEP will also engage these organisations to review their HR practices.

Errant employers that go through the motions of advertising on MyCareersFuture after pre-selecting a foreign candidate and fail to review the applicants from the Portal or have discriminatory hiring or workplace practices, may be barred from hiring foreign employees. 

New Licence Conditions for Employment Agencies (EAs)

EAs are also expected to uphold the Tripartite Guidelines and the FCF as they are key labour market intermediaries that help employers fill vacant positions.

With effect from 1 October 2020, all EAs must:

  1. Brief existing and new clients on the prevailing guidelines on recruitment in the Tripartite Guidelines, and on any subsequent changes to the Guidelines, as well as retain documentary proof which must be produced upon request by MOM. 
  2. Not post discriminatory job advertisements.
  3. Make reasonable efforts to attract Singaporeans, unless there is a documented mutual agreement that the client instructs the EA otherwise and the client would be the one responsible for making other reasonable efforts to attract Singaporeans. The documented agreement must be retained for at least one year and produced upon request by MOM.
  4. Consider all candidates based on merit and not discriminate against applicants on grounds irrelevant to the job position (e.g. age, race, gender, religion, marital status and family responsibilities, or disability), and ensure that all Singaporean applicants are considered fairly for all job positions.
  5. Submit the following returns to MOM on referrals and placements (changes to existing requirement):
  • NRIC/FIN of jobseekers (New)
  • Company UEN (New)
  • Date of referral (New)
  • SSOC (Existing)

EAs that fail to comply with licence conditions may be issued with demerit points, have their licence suspended or revoked, or face prosecution.

Refer to MOM’s website for more details on the FCF and the new EA licence conditions

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