Is a National Jobs Bank the Solution To Fair Employment in Singapore?

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Following the latest developments affecting employment practices in Singapore, the launch of the national Jobs Bank marks the final stage of the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) roll-out since it was first announced in September 2013.

The FCF signifies a new step towards fairer employment practices for Singapore and can be seen as a response to the growing unhappiness among Singapore citizens due to competition with foreign workers in a tight labor market.

A popular topic addressed in Singapore’s National Budget 2012 & 2013, the government has since reduced the foreign worker quota and increased foreign worker levies in a bid to maintain a strong Singapore core within the workforce.

What the Singapore Jobs Bank does

While there are some Singaporeans who are sceptical about the fairness of the FCF, the ultimate objective of the new framework is to ensure that Singaporeans get a fair shot in the local job market. According to Acting Minister for Manpower (MOM) Tan Chuan-Jin, “The framework is not about ‘Hire Singaporeans First, or Hire Singaporeans Only’. What the government is doing is to help them get a fair opportunity.”

The Jobs Bank is a free job portal service provided to all Singapore-registered companies and local job seekers which will allow users to:

  • Advertise and manage job postings;
  • Receive applications and resumes online;
  • Search and short list candidates within the portal’s database;

How it works

Starting from Aug. 1, 2014, the advertising rule under the FCF will come into effect in Singapore:

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  • Organizations looking to hire an Employment Pass (EP) holder will have to advertise the job vacancy on the new Jobs Bank managed by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).
  • The Advertising Rule states that job postings and description must comply with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP) and published for at least 14 days.
  • Job advertisement must include information such as:
    • Job title;
    • Skills, experience, qualifications;
    • Closing date;
    • If the employer’s intention is to hire a foreigner or there is a possibility that the company may consider a foreigner for the position, the salary range should also be included.
  • EP applications must be made within three months before the closing date of job advertisement otherwise, a new advert will need to be posted.

Exemptions

  • Small firms with 25 or fewer employees;
  • Jobs which pays a fixed monthly salary of $12,000 and above;

Audits for errant firms

Firms found to have low numbers of Singaporean at the Professionals, Management and Executive levels (PME) or are reported to be practicing nationality-based or other discriminatory HR practices will come under scrutiny. Firms found to be non-compliant will not have applications for EPs approved and will also be subjected to additional audits.

Implications for HR

  1. Factor in an extra 14 days in your hiring process.
  2. Keep track of the ratio of Singaporean to foreign employees and ensure that it is within industry means.
  3. If you outsource recruitment, the recruitment agency/head-hunter is required to advertise on the jobs bank on behalf of the firm following the FCF and TAFEP guidelines

What do you think about the FCF? Do you believe that such policies will provide better visibility of job openings and give a fair chance to Singaporeans?

For more information about the FCF in Singapore, download the free HR guide here.

Eloise Sutton-Kirkby is the Marketing Director at HRBoss, Asia’s leading provider of HR and staffing software. HRBoss clients include Nissan, Audi, Sephora, American Eagle and Singapore government agencies, such as the Economic Development Board and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The HRBoss recruiting platforms for both corporate HR and the staffing industry include in-built compliance with the latest employment regulations in Singapore, China and Japan. Contact her at eloise.sutton@hrboss.com

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