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Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo Minister for Manpower to PQ on Update on Setting Up of Referral Process for TAFEP with Oversight of Workplace Harassment Cases

NOTICE PAPER NO. 189 OF 2020 FOR THE SITTING ON 4 JANUARY 2021

QUESTION NO. 315 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER

MP: Ms Raeesah Khan

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether the setting up of a referral process for the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) to have oversight of all workplace harassment cases has been completed; (b) if so, how many reports of workplace harassment have been received since the referral process was set up; (c) what is the breakdown of cases by the type of workplace harassment; and (d) whether there are any ongoing programmes to improve awareness about TAFEP as a reporting avenue for victims of workplace harassment.

Answer:

  1. In 2019, the TAFEP established itself as the main centre for employers and employees to seek recourse and also resources for workplace harassment. TAFEP works with other community and tripartite partners and encourages them to refer cases of workplace harassment to TAFEP.

  2. Depending on the cases, TAFEP works with the victim and employer to adjust work arrangements and provide closure to the victim. In more severe cases that might be considered offences under the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) or the Penal Code, TAFEP advises the victim to lodge a police report, and provides the necessary support such as guidance on civil remedies, as well as social and emotional support at organisations such as the Family Service Centres, Health Promotion Board and SOS Singapore. As it is important for companies to give proper redress to staff grievances and address unacceptable practices quickly, TAFEP also works with employers to put in place proper grievance handling procedures.

  3. Between January 2019 and October 2020, TAFEP handled around 80 cases of workplace harassment. About one in five were related to sexual harassment, while others were related to verbal abuse, bullying and physical abuse at the workplace.

  4. TAFEP has stepped up its publicity outreach on workplace harassment and avenues for recourse for affected individuals through digital and social media platforms. TAFEP will continue to work in partnership with the relevant agencies and organisations including NTUC and SNEF to build a safe and conducive work environment for all employees.