Fair employers to get more support in Budget: Minister

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo presented certificates to 28 new Human Capital Partners yesterday.
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo presented certificates to 28 new Human Capital Partners yesterday.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

She lauds exemplary bosses that hire seniors, promote work-life harmony in the workplace

Fair and exemplary employers which upskill their employees and hire and retain older workers can look forward to a boost in government support during the Budget speech next week.

This was announced by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo yesterday at an engagement session with Human Capital Partners and Tripartite Alliance Award winners.

The award recognises exemplary organisations that have effectively implemented fair, responsible and progressive employment practices.

The minister 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 with progressive employment practices.

There are now over 600 such firms in a variety of sectors; they employ more than 200,000 locals.

This amounts to about 8 per cent of the total local workforce.

Mrs Teo said: "In labour-constrained Singapore, businesses have a natural incentive to adopt sustainable and good employment practices, and the vast majority of companies are fair employers. 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 said this group of unfair employers are 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.

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 others if they want a break. We do not discriminate and our oldest employee is 68."

Mrs Teo said such fair and exemplary employers will continue to be supported in their pro-worker and pro-business efforts. Human Capital Partners enjoy green-lane access to Adapt and Grow schemes, among other privileges.

"Fair and sustainable employment practices make business sense. When you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business," Mrs Teo said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2020, with the headline 'Fair employers to get more support in Budget: Minister'. Print Edition | Subscribe