Fair employment practices: Is your organisation ready for Workplace Fairness Legislation?

Find out what you can start doing to prepare your organisation for the upcoming Workplace Fairness Legislation.

28 Dec 2023 Articles Grievance handling Performance management Recruitment Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices Trending Best practices

With the impending enactment of Workplace Fairness Legislation (WFL), implementing fair employment practices will soon become more important than ever for employers. 

In August 2023, the government has accepted the final set of recommendations by the Tripartite Committee on Workplace Fairness for the WFL.

With the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP) being retained and enhanced to work in concert with WFL, it presents a clear opportunity now for business and human resources (HR) leaders to take stock and know where your organisation stands in terms of its fair employment practices in adherence with the prevailing TGFEP. 

Here are two key areas where you can start by reviewing your organisation’s policies and practices:

Fair recruitment practices 
When it comes to fair recruitment, a candidate’s skills, experience, and ability to perform the job should be considered, instead of using personal attributes that are irrelevant to the job, such as race, age, gender, religion, marital status and family responsibilities or disability. 

For instance, when you write a job advertisement, do you already have these processes in place? 

  • Ensuring that the selection criteria listed are related to the job requirements
  • Ensuring all personnel involved in writing the job advertisement (including staff outside of your HR team) are aware of the need to adhere to the TGFEP
  • Having a comprehensive vetting process in place to check for words or phrases that could be perceived as discriminatory before posting it online

Another fundamental aspect to fair recruitment is complying with existing manpower regulations such as the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF). Here are some important questions that you need to ask:

  • Is your organisation’s recruitment policy and process in line with the FCF requirements?
  • Does your recruitment process consider the workforce in Singapore fairly for job opportunities by advertising job vacancies on the MyCareersFuture portal, and
  • Does your process fairly consider all candidates who met the selection criteria?

With legislation, employers will be required to put in place processes to ensure that recruitment practices are carried out in a fair and merit-based manner.  

To learn more about how to implement fair recruitment practices, you may access the ‘Introduction to Fair Hiring’ e-learning module.

Clear grievance handling procedures 
Another key recommendation in the interim report is for employers to put in place grievance handling processes to resolve grievances and disputes at the workplace. These processes help preserve workplace harmony and promote amicable resolution of disputes, both of which are hallmark of Singapore’s employment landscape. 

Here are some questions to help you gauge your organisation’s preparedness in managing employee grievances: 

  • Do you currently have a proper process in place for employees’ concerns to be heard, looked into and resolved in a fair and timely manner?
  • How is the process communicated to the employees? (e.g., written in the employee handbook, code of conduct, or company intranet)
  • Do your employees know who to approach should they wish to lodge a grievance report or file a discriminatory complaint?
  • How are you ensuring confidentiality of the complaint and treating it with sensitivity? 
  • Are the affected employees informed as to when the outcome will be communicated to them?

To learn more about how to implement a proper grievance handling process in your workplace, please refer to the Grievance Handling Handbook for more information.

Taking stock of your organisation’s fair employment practices 
The enacting of WFL is an important next step in upholding workplace fairness and entrenching fair employment standards in Singapore. In rooting out discrimination, employers have to put in the effort and implement formal policies and processes to comply with the legislation requirements.

These are some ways to prepare your organisation for the upcoming legislation:

  • Take a quick self-assessment of your organisation via the Fair and Progressive Employment Index (FPEIndex), to know how well your organisation adheres to the TGFEP. Review the insights and recommendations provided to identify where your organisation can close the gaps and create a truly conducive workplace. 
  • Refer to the list of practices found in the Tripartite Standards on Recruitment Practices and Grievance Handling as an additional guide in the implementation of fair employment practices. 
  • Access our Workplace Fairness one-stop resource page as a guide to review and make necessary improvements to your organisation's employment practices in preparation for the upcoming WFL.

Implementing fair employment practices is vital to building an engaged and motivated workforce that will work towards your organisation’s goals. Take your first step today.