In a parliamentary session earlier this week, the Ministry of Manpower responded to various Parliamentary questions on workforce issues.
These included the Tripartite Standard for the Employment of Term Contract Employees; providing support working mothers during pregnancy and parenthood; and local employment in majority foreign-owned enterprises.
In response to a question by Member of Parliament (MP) Assoc. Prof. Daniel Goh Pei Siong on the Tripartite Standards for Employment of Term Contract Employees, Second Minister for Manpower, Josephine Teo reiterated, "instead of relying on audits, the standard spells out clearly verifiable actions that employers commit to undertake and relies on employers’ self-assessments of their ability to comply."
Minister Teo added that if employees of these companies experience difficulty arising from non-compliance with the standard, they can report to The Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), which will contact the employer to clarify their practices or to change them, so as to meet the Standard.
Since its launch two months ago, the Tripartite Standard for the Employment of Term Contract Employees has been adopted by well over 400 employers, accounting for more than 28,000 or 17% of all resident term contract employees.
"Our current focus is to increase the number of employers adopting this Standard. We will also consult with our tripartite partners at an appropriate time, to review the Standard so as to ensure it remains relevant," Minister Teo said.
Providing support for working mothers during pregnancy and parenthood
During the Parliamentary session, MP Louis Ng also posed a question on whether the Ministry of Manpower will consider setting up a grant companies can apply for to partially offset their cost of hiring a temporary staff member for each female employee entering their second trimester of pregnancy until their employee’s child turns two years old.
Responding to Ng's question, Minister Teo said: "To make our workplaces more family-friendly, employers, supervisors and co-workers should support working mothers during pregnancy and parenthood. As the requirements of each company and needs of the workers may differ, we do not prescribe how the support should be provided."
Teo suggested that one main way companies can support working mothers is through Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) which there is a grant for.
"To encourage companies to implement FWAs, we provide the Work-Life Grant of up to $160,000 over four years per company," the Second Minister for Manpower said.
1,068,300 workers employed in majority foreign-owned firms in 2016
Additionally, in response to a question by MP Gan Thiam Poh on a breakdown of statistics of Singaporeans employed in majority foreign-owned enterprises by age group, educational level, and percentage of the total Singaporean workforce; Minister for Manpower, Lim Swee Say revealed that while breakdown by residential status, age group and educational level is not available, in 2016, 1,068,300 workers were employed in majority foreign-owned enterprises. This represented 31.1% of the total employment in Singapore.
Photo / 123RF