Singapore tops the region in annual United Nations Public Service Awards

SINGAPORE - A national campaign to ensure workers enjoy their basic employment rights has won a United Nations Public Service Award.

The WorkRight initiative topped the Asia and the Pacific region in the category "promoting whole of government approaches in the information age".

This the first time Singapore has won the top award in this field in the 13-year history of the event.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will pick up the award along with the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board at a ceremony in Colombia between June 23 and 26.

In last year's competition, Singapore came in first in the region in the "improving the delivery of public services" category for Alexandra Health System's ageing-in-place programme.

WorkRight was launched by the bodies in September 2012 and by April this year it had benefited more than 42,000 Singaporeans, more than half of whom were low-wage workers.

It has helped them to enjoy their legal entitlements such as timely payment of salary or CPF contributions, or payment of overtime allowance.

The MOM said that in sectors where non-compliance with employment laws tends to be higher - such as food and beverage, retail, security and cleaning - nine in 10 employers are now complying, up from seven in 10 in 2013.

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said in a statement on Tuesday: "We will continue to explore new and effective ways to serve our public better, from policy design to service delivery and public engagement, so as to achieve a better outcome for all."

He also lauded the efforts of the ministry's officers and partners from employer groups, unions and community groups in reaching out to workers.

The WorkRight campaign worked with the Union of Security Employees in 2013 to publish a handbook for security officers, which was distributed to more than 5,000 workers.

It has just been updated to include information on the new wage and skills ladder for the industry, which becomes compulsory from Sep 1 next year.

Around 5,000 copies are available at the union's customer service centre at Waterloo Street. It is also available online at: http://bit.ly/SOHandbook.