Singapore increases penalties for hiring discrimination 

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January 15, 2020

Employers in Singapore face stronger penalties if they discriminate when hiring workers or make false declarations about their fair hiring practices, the minister for manpower recently announced. The changes concern the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) and the tripartite guidelines on fair employment practices (guidelines), introduced in 2014 with the goal of combatting hiring discrimination, expanding opportunities for Singaporean professionals, managers, executives and technicians, and reducing employers’ reliance on foreign workers.  

The minister said new penalties will be levied for discrimination based on a candidate’s nationality, age, race and gender as follows:

  • Employers who breach the guidelines will be prevented from hiring or renewing work pass applications for foreign workers for a minimum of 12 months, or for up to 24 months in the case of serious breaches. Previously, the minimum debarment period for hiring new foreign workers was six months and did not apply to the renewal of existing foreign workers.
  • Employers and key personnel who falsely declare that they have considered all candidates could be prosecuted and face imprisonment of up to two years and/or fines of up to SGD$20,000.

Recent reforms to the FCF require employers to post more vacancies on the national jobs board before applying for a foreign hire work pass. The government will assess the need to regulate the recruitment sector to ensure fair employment practices.

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