SINGAPORE - Fair and exemplary employers who upskill their employees and hire and retain older workers can look forward to a boost in government support during the Budget next week.
This was announced by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo on Friday (Feb 14) at an engagement session with Human Capital Partners and Tripartite Alliance Award winners at the Devan Nair Institute of Employment and Employability.
She also presented certificates to 28 new Human Capital Partners at the session.
These partners are employers who are committed to growing their businesses and staying competitive by having progressive employment practices.
There are now over 600 of such firms in a variety of sectors and they employ more than 200,000 locals. This amounts to about 8 per cent of the total local workforce.
More than 85 per cent are locals at the senior to top levels in these firms.
Mrs Teo said: "In labour-constrained Singapore, businesses have a natural incentive to adopt sustainable employment practices, and the vast majority of companies know they have to be fair.
"We will continue to support them to offer good employment opportunities, promote progressive practices and develop their local workers."
Last month, the Fair Consideration Framework was updated to reflect more stringent penalties for those who practise workplace discrimination.
Mrs Teo added that this group of unfair employers is a small minority, and encouraged the fair employers to continue their good work.
"Our exemplary employers identify opportunities to harness the expertise and experience of our mature workers. The seniors in our workforce have much to contribute," she said.
Besides hiring older workers, these employers also create workplaces that provide work-life harmony, such as flexible work arrangements.
"Work-life initiatives are important for employee retention and job satisfaction. It also leads to a more productive and committed workforce that can help the company achieve better business outcomes," she noted.
One example is law firm Rajah & Tann, which offers employees the option to telecommute or work from home one day a month.
About 60 per cent of the employees, or more than 300, have taken this up.
Staff partner Elaine Tay said: "This provides support for working mothers who have family commitments and also for others if they want a break.
"We do not discriminate and our oldest employee is 68. As long as a person is able to continue working, they can."
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Mrs Teo said such fair and exemplary employers will continue to be supported in their pro-worker and pro-business efforts.
Human Capital Partners currently benefit from green-lane access to Adapt and Grow schemes and a dedicated hotline to transactions with the Ministry of Manpower, among others.
Adapt and Grow initiatives help firms and individuals to adapt to changing job demands and grow their skills.
More support for these partners will be shared during the Budget speech on Tuesday.
"Fair and sustainable employment practices make business sense. When you take care of your employees, they take care of your business," Mrs Teo said.