Unfair hiring practices, in respect to the government's Fair Consideration Framework (FCF), apply not only to hiring, but also to promotion, retirement and retrenchment.
Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin emphasised fair hiring also extends to overall fair HR practices.
He mentioned greater scrutiny will be based on a range of factors, including "how a firm's proportion of Singaporean PMEs compares with others in the same industry".
Other factors also include how fast its proportion changes over time, "which could be due to promotion or retirement or retrenchment patterns".
"Firms will also be flagged if there are repeated complaints of unfair HR practices, whether it is for hiring, promotion, retirement or retrenchment," he said.
"Such firms will be subject to additional scrutiny in their work pass applications and those which are found to have poor employment practices may have their work pass privileges curtailed."
He added the Employment Act would also protect employees who have been unfairly dismissed.
Questions were raised in Parliament with regards to the FCF, which will take effect on 1 August next year. The framework encourages employers to consider Singaporeans first when hiring, and requires them to first advertise job vacancies on a new national job bank for two weeks.
Smaller firms with 25 or fewer employees, and roles with salaries of S$12,000 and above, will be exempted from the job bank.
"Many of such small businesses do not necessarily have sophisticated HR management to respond to many applications," Tan said, adding they only account for about 25% of all EP holders.
On the other hand, jobs paying a monthly salary of S$12,000 and above only cover 5% of the local workforce.
Despite the strict hiring policies, Tan said it would not be "desirable" to ensure "every single PME jobs goes to Singaporeans".
"We do need to ensure that the economy remains competitive and that is probably the best way to look out for the interests of all Singaporeans. Employers are best placed to decide which candidates can do the job.
"What MOM will do is to signal these expectations quite strongly and clearly, and importantly to monitor the firms' HR practices," he said.