Singapore: Government publishes white paper on women’s development 

An asian woman in her 60's viewing from a distance.
April 27, 2022

A government white paper that outlines 25 equality actions will address five aspects of workplace diversity and equal opportunities in Singapore. Issued on 28 March 2022, and to be introduced over a two-year period, the proposals aim to boost women’s employment, enhance laws to address discriminatory employment practices, and encourage the development of flexible-work arrangements for all employees.

Highlights of workplace initiatives

  • The Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices would be given legal force to address unfair employment practices.
  • More support would be provided to whistleblowers to report workplace harassment. By the end of 2022, the Tripartite Committee on Workplace Fairness will issue proposals to protect the confidentiality of whistleblowers, require employers to establish formal grievance handling procedures, and prohibit retaliation against whistleblowers. 
  • “By 2024,” the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) will work with employers and trade unions to agree on a new set of Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Working Arrangements that would “require” employers to “fairly and properly” consider employees’ flexible working requests. The MoM warned that it “may focus” on larger employers, and would scrutinize “egregious” refusals to allow flexible working. Meanwhile, the government will urge employers to implement the current guidelines, with the goal of achieving 40% coverage of employees by the end of 2022.
  • From 1 January 2022, under revised SGX Listing Rules, companies must disclose their board diversity policy (including gender, skills, experience and other relevant aspects of diversity), and they must disclose their diversity targets, steps and timelines for achieving them.
  • Other measures would develop career mentoring, networking opportunities and training programs for women at work or those who are re-entering the workforce, and would encourage the utilization of parental leave entitlements.

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