New recommendations for Workplace Fairness Legislation released in Tripartite Committee Interim Report

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Compared to 5 years ago, cases of discrimination in the workplace have improved. But once in a while, we still see cases of errant employers surfacing in the news and cases like such are one too many and should not be tolerated. The fact that there are such practices going on also highlights the importance of enforcing legislations to protect workers by ensuring fairness in the workplace.

On 13 February 2023, the Tripartite Committee consisting of Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), released 20 new recommendations for Workplace Fairness Legislation (WFL) in their interim report.  

The 20 recommendations under WFL target 4 key thrusts: 

  1. Strengthen protections against workplace discrimination 

  2. Provisions to support business/organisational needs and national objectives 

  3. Processes for resolving grievances and disputes while preserving workplace harmony 

  4. Ensuring fair outcomes through redress for victims of workplace discrimination and more appropriate penalties for breaches 

Essentially, with legislation, the Committee seeks to strengthen the overall framework for workplace fairness, provide remedies for harm done, whether it is monetary or non-monetary and provide more forms of appropriate enforcement against discriminatory employers. 

The new recommendations for WFL is not to replace the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP) but to complement and provide additional support to what was already stated in the guidelines. The TGFEP would uphold overarching principles of fair and merit-based employment and stand against all forms of discrimination for all employers, while the WFL will introduce legislation to prohibit the common forms of discrimination in Singapore and strengthen protection and redress for workers who experience discrimination.  

Marrying both TGFEP and WFL, it will send a strong signal that there is no place for workplace discrimination in Singapore, act as an effective deterrent against employers committing unfair practices and empowers relevant authorities such as MOM to take appropriate enforcement action on employers for any breaches of the law if found guilty.  

Over the next few weeks, the Committee will continue to engage stakeholders to refines its recommendations before the final report is published later this year. What do you think about the recommendations in this interim report?  Effect change by sharing your thoughts here:  

Legislation can act as a deterrent to unfair practices by incalcitrant employers. However, it is more important that we ensure level-playing field and provide fair opportunities for our workers, especially our PMEs. NTUC will continue to work with our tripartite partners to build more inclusive workplaces, and improve our HR standards to enhance workplace fairness for our local PMEs. There will be continued efforts to ensure the local workforce can transform and remain employable


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