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Written Answer by Minister for Manpower Mrs Josephine Teo to PQ on Workplace Sexual Harassment

NOTICE PAPER NO. 551 OF 2021 FOR THE SITTING ON 8 MARCH 2021
QUESTION NO. 551 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER


MP: Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang

To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry will scale up existing tripartite guidelines addressing workplace sexual harassment by providing a clear definition of workplace sexual harassment including examples of such acts, to alert companies to what constitutes sexual harassment.

Answer:

  1. The Government does not tolerate any form of workplace harassment, including sexual harassment. Our agencies work closely with partners to tackle such cases and support affected employees. When the Protection from Harassment Act was passed in 2014, the tripartite partners worked closely with community partners such as AWARE to develop the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Workplace Harassment. The Advisory, which also addresses workplace sexual harassment, sets out what behaviours constitute harassment at the workplace, legal protections and sources of help for affected individuals, as well as how employers can ensure a safe and conducive work environment.
  2. In addition, the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices requires companies to have processes to manage grievances and protect complainants' confidentiality. The process also applies to the management of workplace sexual harassment complaints.
  3. It is understandable that victims of workplace harassment may not report them. Apart from creating a safe space for employees to speak up, employers must also be resolute in tackling workplace harassment, including sexual harassment when it comes to their attention.
  4. TAFEP's Workplace Harassment Resource and Recourse Centre can render advice and assistance to employers on how to do so. Colleagues and the wider community can also play a part in fostering a culture that advocates respect for one another and condemns harassment.