New guidelines for work permit holders in services sector

The Manpower Ministry has released new guidelines on the deployment of work permit holders in the services sector. From July 1, services sector firms can let their work permit holders multi-task or do different jobs. Now, these foreign workers are only allowed to perform a single type of work spelt out in their work permit.

The concession was first announced by the MOM in February to help service sector firms cope with higher foreign workers levies and smaller quotas that would be progressively implemented over the next few years.

The new guidelines were drawn up by the MOM, National Trades Union Congress and Singapore National Employers' Federation. It spelt out how firms can now flexibly deploy their foreign workers to raise productivity but it noted that productivity gains should be shared with employees though higher pay or other rewards.

"Employees should not be penalised for declining to perform additional job functions," the guidelines said, adding that it would be unreasonable for firms to put their workers to new areas of work without training them. The MOM wants workers to talk to their companies or unions first if the new guidelines are not followed. But it warned that it would stop errant firms from hiring foreign workers in serious cases of breaches.