‘Fair Consideration’ advertising rules to cover more employers

5 Mar 18

SINGAPORE

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? The Ministry of Manpower will expand the Fair Consideration Framework rules to more employers in an effort to increase the hiring of Singaporean candidates, Minister Lim Swee Say said in a speech to Parliament.

What does the change mean? Employers with 10 or more employees will be covered by the rules, and jobs that pay a fixed monthly salary below 15,000 Singapore dollars (about US$11,375) must be advertised for 14 days on the National Job Board. Under current rules, employers with 25 or fewer employees and jobs paying S$12,000 or more per month are exempt from the rules. Additionally, S-Pass minimum salaries will gradually increase through 2020. The current monthly salary for an S-Pass is S$2,200 and this will be increased to S$2,300 at the start of 2019 and S$2,400 at the beginning of 2020.

  • Implementation time frame: July 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Employment passes; S passes.
  • Who is affected: Companies with 10 or more employees who are seeking to fill jobs paying less than S$15,000 per month.
  • Impact on processing times: The Fair Consideration Framework rules, which include a required 14-day advertising period, will lengthen overall processing timeframes for more employers.
  • Business impact: The expansion of the advertising rules will affect more employers and more jobs.
  • Next steps: Companies that are currently exempt from the Fair Consideration Framework advertising requirement should be prepared that after July 1 they may be covered by the rules.

Background: The Fair Consideration Framework was introduced in 2014 to strengthen the Singaporean workforce and make sure that employers were giving local workers fair consideration for jobs before sponsoring foreign workers for work passes. The framework has been gradually tightened over the years. Most recently, the Ministry of Manpower expanded its list of companies that are noncompliant with the framework from 100 to 250, and updated the employment pass application form to require employers to answer detailed questions about their hiring practices and to document their consideration of Singaporean candidates at each stage of the hiring process.

BAL Analysis: The changes are consistent with the ministry’s recent trend of strengthening its Fair Consideration Framework rules, particularly in light of signs of weaker job growth in coming years. Although foreign workers are still needed, employers should be aware of the stricter environment and the likelihood that their applications will be closely scrutinized. All employers who rely on foreign employees are encouraged to review their recruitment, hiring and training strategies to align them with these efforts to strengthen the local workforce.

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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