Action taken in cases of workplace discrimination

We thank Professor Sattar Bawany (Weed out hidden ageist bias in the workplace; Feb 26) for raising important issues about the employment of older workers.

The work of the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) involves both public education and enforcement.

It actively addresses the root cause of discrimination by correcting stereotypes, educating employers and uplifting employment practices through training and working directly with employers to put in place fair and inclusive workplace practices.

Tafep examines complaints of workplace discrimination. Where breaches of the guidelines are found, Tafep reports these employers to the Ministry of Manpower. The MOM in turn imposes sanctions, such as stern warnings and curtailment of work pass privileges. Over the past three years, it has imposed sanctions on 258 employers.

Through the collective efforts of Tafep and the tripartite partners, the employment outcomes for older workers continue to improve.

The employment rate for workers aged 55 to 64 increased from 64 per cent in 2012 to 67 per cent last year. This is higher than Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries such as Australia, South Korea, the United States and Britain.

In addition, the prevalence of age-related discrimination remains low. The yearly number of age-related discrimination complaints reported to Tafep and MOM in the past three years averaged 70, constituting 13 per cent of the total complaints. The number also declined by more than half in the past two years, from 101 in 2016 to 42 last year.

Tafep will continue to work closely with the MOM, employers and human resource practitioners to build inclusive workplaces in Singapore.

We urge workers who face discrimination in the workplace to report the matter to Tafep promptly so that action on errant employers can be taken early.

Roslyn Ten (Mrs)

General Manager

Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices

Christine Loh (Ms)

Director, Employment Standards Enforcement

Labour Relations & Workplaces Division

Ministry of Manpower

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2018, with the headline 'Action taken in cases of workplace discrimination'. Print Edition | Subscribe