Oral Answer by Ms Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on the Tripartite Advisory on Workplace Harassment
NOTICE PAPER NO. 1669 OF 2019 FOR THE SITTING ON 8 MAY 2019
QUESTION NO. 2825 FOR ORAL ANSWER
NMP: Assoc Prof Walter Theseira
To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry will start monitoring the number of employers who have adopted measures in the Tripartite Advisory for Managing Workplace Harassment, with such monitoring to include whether the employer has a policy explicitly defining harassment including sexual harassment, whether the policy details how harassment will be dealt with, and whether training is provided to employees on how to prevent and respond to harassment.
- Individuals who face harassment at the workplace should contact the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) for advice and assistance. If the facts suggest that an offence under the Penal Code or the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) is committed, TAFEP will refer them to the Police or the Courts.
- At the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s Committee of Supply debate this year, we announced that TAFEP would set up a centre for workplace harassment, so as to further enhance the support provided to individuals who come forward to report workplace harassment.
- In 2015, the tripartite partners also agreed on a Tripartite Advisory on Managing Workplace Harassment. The tripartite partners affirm that all employers are expected to provide a safe and healthy working environment for their employees. They are also in agreement that for cases that do not constitute a criminal offence, the proper way to deal with it is through effective grievance handling procedures within companies. To help employers put in place processes to prevent and manage workplace harassment complaints, TAFEP provides online resources such as a sample workplace harassment prevention policy and a list of training providers to train supervisors in dealing with workplace harassment and complaints.
- Tripartite advisories are meant to provide further guidance for employers and employees. We do not track how many companies implement the measures suggested in the advisories. However, when evaluating whether an employer has taken adequate measures in response to a complaint of workplace harassment, MOM and TAFEP will assess whether the employer has implemented an effective grievance handling procedure as well as measures in the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Workplace Harassment. If the employer failed to address a workplace harassment case fairly, TAFEP would advise the employer to review the case again. TAFEP would also engage the employer to put in place the proper measures as outlined in the Tripartite Advisory to ensure better prevention and management of workplace harassment. For egregious cases where companies fail to provide a safe environment for their employees, MOM will take action against the company, including curtailing work passes.