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Singapore – Roll-Out of Fair Consideration Framework has Commenced.

26 February, 2015

 

Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific – Singapore – Labour & Employment

 

To recap:

 

  • Before submitting an Employment Pass (EP) application, employers in Singapore must advertise the job vacancy on the Jobs Bank, with an online application process that is accessible by Singaporeans. This changes the way in which foreign workers, who may be eligible to hold an employment pass, are recruited to work in Singapore.
  • The job advertisement must comply with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices and run for at least 14 days. After the advertisement period, employers are free to hire the most qualified candidate, regardless of nationality. However, if a foreigner is hired, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will request the employer to provide reasons why it was not able to hire a Singaporean.
  • Failure to comply with the FCF could result in employers facing greater scrutiny of their recruitment and employment practices by MOM, and could even result in curtailment of an employer’s work pass privileges.
  • The following jobs are excluded from the Jobs Bank advertisement requirement:
    • jobs in companies with 25 employees or less;
    • jobs paying a fixed monthly salary of SGD 12k and above;
    • jobs to be filled by certain intra-corporate transferees (generally, managers, executives and specialists); and
    • jobs that are necessary for short-term contingencies (i.e. employment in Singapore for less than one month).
  • Companies will need to advertise on the Jobs Bank for all roles that do not fall in the above exemptions. This means that even roles involving graduate or trainee employees rotating from an overseas branch, subsidiary or other related entity of a company are not necessarily exempt from the advertising requirement.
  • The Jobs Bank requirement does not affect the employment of Singapore Permanent Residents.

 

What This Means For Employers

 

Employers should fairly consider all job candidates regardless of nationality. Interview and job offer records should be retained in case a hiring decision is challenged.

 

In December 2014, MOM showed just how seriously it is prepared to respond to failures to comply with the FCF when it curbed the work pass privileges of the maritime company Prime Gold International Pte Ltd (Prime Gold) for two years. This was in response to aggrieved employees alleging that they had been unfairly retrenched and replaced with foreign workers. MOM did not accept Prime Gold’s arguments that the retrenched employees had demonstrated unsatisfactory work performance and lacked relevant qualifications.

 

Prime Gold is the first reported case of the MOM barring an employer from hiring foreign workers in response to failure to comply with FCF. However, MOM reports that it has taken some form of action against around 100 companies for posting discriminatory job advertisements and not considering Singaporeans fairly for job and development opportunities.

 

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For further information, please contact:

 

George Cooper, Partner, Ashurst

[email protected]

 

Sumin Ahn, Ashurst

[email protected]

 

Jennifer Goedhuys, Ashurst

[email protected]

 

Homegrown Labour & Employment Law Firms in Singapore

 

International (with Local Law Capabilities) Labour & Employment Law Firms in Singapore

 

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