Legal Employment Framework in Singapore
The varied legal frameworks in Singapore greatly influence employment decisions and practices of employers in that region. Both employers and employees are affected by the laws. Among some of these laws are ‘The Workplace Safety and Health Act’, ‘Employment Act’ plus the most current one ‘Fair Consideration Framework’ that became active in August 2014 (Yim, 2013). Thus, this paper, will focus on the three employment-based laws.
In Singapore, The Employment Act is based on tripartite guidelines protecting the rights and responsibilities of employees. Such rights might relate to working conditions and salaries which include, working hours, resting time, shift workers, overtime, sick leave, benefits, annual leave and holidays. Other factors that are included in the Act relate to termination of contracts, maternity leave, employee complaints, occupational illness age of employment and compensation (LSS, 2014).
According to WLG (2011), these laws affect the manner in which human resources are managed in an organization. On matters of salary, such laws stipulate minimum wage an employee should receive that keeps fluctuating from time to time. Human resource experts, as such, are supposed to consistently substantiate accuracy of salaries that are paid to staff. HR mangers are also supposed to assume responsibility of ensuring all the staff get overtime payment for every extra hour they work beyond the hours that are stipulated by the company. HR managers should also be in charge of making sure the needs of employees in terms of leave are accordingly satisfied, based on the law of employment. During leaves, employee’s jobs should be protected consistently while their coverage for health continues regardless of whether they are working or not. In this regard, it is essential for HR professionals to train managers and supervisors on suitable and eligible reasons for employee leave.
HR practices as well involve rights and activities that are protected by employment laws (Walsh, 2012). These regulations confer employees’ rights while they impose legal responsibilities on employers. HR professionals must at all times know prevailing employment laws they can apply in their workforce size and form of business. Further, the law on employment provides employee recruitment guidance for HR managers without discrimination on any grounds like, race or age, gender as well as other discriminatory factors. In this regard, the laws ensure there is employment equality which means opportunities are offered equally to all individuals who are qualified. According to McKenzie (n.d, p. 304) the only kind of law that is linked to equality, non-discrimination and employment in Singapore is related to age. The ‘Retirement Age Act’ forbids dismissal of a worker who is below the age of 62 on basis of age (age discrimination). The law is applicable to all the workers including professionals, managers and executives. The region does not offer equal opportunity legislation/regulation implying the region does not have explicit law on prevention of gender and racial discrimination. Nevertheless, Article 12 in the constitution states all people are entitled to enjoy equal protection by law and that no discrimination should be made on the basis of religion, race or descent, or place of birth. The newly developed law, however, Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) ensures during the recruitment process, fairness is exercised.
Workplace Safety and Health Act
The Act offers legal structure that is related to safety and occupational health, applicable in all places of work throughout Singapore. Over the years concerns on the human, economic and social costs that are associated with occupational accidents, diseases and injuries in addition to major industrial disasters have risen. Measures and strategies for reduction, prevention, controlling and elimination of occupational hazards and risks have been consistently applied and developed in efforts to keep up with technological and economic changes (Ali, 2008). Nevertheless, workplace diseases and accidents have continued to rise and their subsequent costs have proven substantial in terms of human suffering and economic burden. This is a demonstration that health and safety at workplaces has become a widespread challenge that affects employees, the economy at large and the surrounding communities. Organizational employees are valuable resources or assets that need to be protected always. A healthy and safe workforce, moreover are of great importance in increasing cost efficiency and sustainability.
Employers have the responsibility for providing a safe and healthy work environment for their employees (Ali, 2008). The workplace safety and health policies in Singapore require that employers should maintain and offer workplaces, machinery and equipment techniques that are safe. Such facilities are supposed to keep employees free from related health risks. Effective protective measures are supposed to be provided to workers at all times and they are supposed to be given adequate instructions/training together with managers. All practices of an organization should never expose employees to danger and in the event they do, they should provide protective clothing or equipment at no extra cost. What is more, organizations are supposed to put measures in place of handling emergencies and accidents that are part of sufficient arrangements for first-aid.
Therefore, the Act has played a great role in cultivation of good practices of safety across all organizations in Singapore to promote solid workplace culture in the entire region. All the stakeholders also have a role to play in order to ensure the workers and surrounding communities enjoy excellent safety and health (GOS, 2013). The law as well protects employees from substances that are dangerous such as irritants, corrosive substances and explosives among others. In the same manner, workers get protection from hazardous equipment and machinery including bar-benders, welding equipment and forklifts among others. Risky non-compliance and practices for workplace to safety law attracts very penalties on offenders.
Fair Consideration Framework (FCF)
FCF is a new regulation in legal employment framework that will begin to operate in August 2014 (PLG, 2013). Primarily, the Act aims at promoting fair considerations for employment. The new regulations for employment will make it possible for employees to enjoy fair considerations in employment opportunities. In this event, employers are supposed to post job adverts with newly developed national bank jobs. Though the new process can be costly for employers, they are going to gain in that they can secure highly talented and competent candidates. In this instance, it means the new law will be beneficial to both individuals and employers seeking employment in Singapore (Yim, 2013)
In order to facilitate fair practices of recruitment, Singapore will implement FCF regulations by posting some new job vacancies in the bank under management of ‘Workforce Development Agency’ (WDA) of Singapore. With the new regulation, white-collar professionals and executives in Singapore will experience fair practices in hiring. The Manpower Ministry (MOM) is probably going to work in collaboration with private job portals in an effort to match applicants with the job vacancies while at the same time establishing a job bank that is government based where all the vacant positions are posted (Hussain, 2014).
Even companies desiring to hire foreign professionals ought to post jobs in the national job bank first in order to present an opportunity to Singaporeans. Such vacancies are supposed to remain within job bank for at least 14 days before the opportunities are opened to foreigners. Advertising via the job bank will make it possible for MOM to carry out comprehensive scrutiny on companies alleged to have recruitment practices that are unfair. Nevertheless, there are some companies that will be exempted from the new regulation on employment. Firms have a workforce size of 25 and below for example, do not necessarily need to advertise jobs via the job bank. In the same manner, advertisements cannot be demanded on positions that earn fixed salary of $ 12000 and above per month (Hussain, 2014).
Adoption of employment practices that are fair is increasingly essential since it makes it possible for companies to treat and hire employees on the basis of merit like experience, skills or abilities in job performance. According to Fujishiro (2005) this process makes sure the process of recruitment is sensitive to diversity without discriminating candidates on the basis of factors such as gender, race, religion, social status or disability. Further, fair employment fosters inclusive workforce in an organization while at the same time improving performance and committed of the individuals hired (Cole et, al, 2005).
This paper provides a synopsis in three laws that are related to employment Act illustrated as regulation that makes sure the rights of employees are met while at the same time making sure employers are responsible for how they treat workers. The Health and Safety Act illustrates how employers are supposed to protect workers from workplace hazards such as risky workplace equipment’s and harmful substances. Lastly, the paper also reflects on newly developed law, Fair Consideration Framework, which will hold responsibility in making sure there is fair employment opportunities by giving Singaporeans priority when job vacancy arises. According to the law, qualified individuals in Singapore are supposed to be given first consideration before the same are extended to foreigners. Nevertheless, the regulation will take effect as from August 2014.
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Ali, B. (2008). Fundamental Principles of Occupational Health and Safety. International Labor Management Journal, 4(2):1-193.
Cole, M., Giles, W., Field, H., & Bernerth, J. (2005). Perceived Fairness in Employee Selection: The Role of Applicant Personality. Journal of Business and Psychology, 10(3):1-59.
Fujishiro, K. (2005). Fairness at Work: Its Impacts on Employee Well-Being. Human Resource Management Journal, 1(1):1-188.
Government of Singapore (GOS, 2013). The Workplace Safety and Health Act: What it Covers. Retrieved from http://www.mom.gov.sg/workplace-safety-health/wsh-regulatory-framework/Pages/workplace-safety-health-act.aspx.
Hussain, A. (2014). New Hiring Framework in Tandem with Vibrant Economy. Retrieved from http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/new-hiring-framework-tandem-vibrant-economy.
McKenzie, B. (n.d). Singapore. Retrieved from http://www.bakermckenzie.com/files/Uploads/Documents/Supporting%20Your%20Business/Global%20Markets%20QRGs/Termination,%20Discrimination%20and%20Harassment
Pro-Link Global (PLG, 2013). Singapore: Fair Consideration Framework to be Implemented in 2014. Retrieved from http://www.pro-linkglobal.com/resources/immigration-alerts/2013/singapore-fair-consideration-framework-to-be-implemented-in-2014-a309.aspx
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Yim, J. (2013). Why Singapore’s Fair Consideration Framework is a Win-Win for Job Candidates and Employers. Retrieved from http://sbr.com.sg/hr-education/commentary/why-singapores-fair-consideration-framework-win-win-job-candidates-and-emplo