Employer barred from hiring foreign employees for 2 years

31 Dec 14

SINGAPORE

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? In the first action of its kind, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has banned an employer from hiring foreign workers after finding the employer breached the Fair Consideration Framework by discriminating against its Singaporean employees.

What does the change mean? MOM is enforcing the new framework that requires employers to consider Singaporean candidates fairly for jobs and to implement employment practices that are “open, merit-based and non-discriminatory.”

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work passes.
  • Who is affected: Companies sponsoring foreign nationals for work passes under the Fair Consideration Framework.
  • Business impact: Businesses that rely on foreign workers are on notice that MOM is enforcing non-discrimination provisions of the Fair Consideration Framework.
  • Next steps: Employers should make sure they are in compliance with all requirements and guidelines under the Fair Consideration Framework – not only with respect to advertising and hiring practices of job candidates, but also to policies related to existing workers.

Background: On Dec. 29, MOM announced it curbed a company’s work pass privileges after an investigation revealed that the company laid off 13 Singaporean employees and then made their jobs available to foreign workers. MOM investigators said the company’s reasons for terminating the workers for poor performance and inadequate qualifications were not substantiated. The occupations included captains, officers, engineers and seamen. The company will be restricted from hiring foreign workers for two years.

“MOM has been investigating complaints against companies for not considering Singaporeans fairly for job and development opportunities, including if they resorted to discriminatory dismissal of Singaporeans,” said Roslyn Ten-Kong, Fair Consideration Department director, in a statement. “This is a case where we found the company to have retrenched Singaporeans unfairly.”

The Fair Consideration Framework took effect Aug. 1 and is intended to strengthen the Singaporean workforce.

BAL Analysis: Until now, employers may have focused solely on job advertising and hiring practices under the new framework. Employers should also make sure they implement non-discriminatory labor policies related to career development, disciplinary procedures and termination of employment.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in Singapore. For additional information, please contact singapore@balglobal.com.

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