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New Licence Conditions for Employment Agencies to Strengthen Fair Hiring

  1. To strengthen fair hiring practices, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will impose new licence conditions on all employment agencies (EAs) when they undertake recruitment work.
  2. At the same time, MOM will partner with progressive EAs to help Singaporeans secure jobs and traineeships under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.

    New Employment Agencies Licence Conditions on Fair Recruitment Practices
  3. Discrimination in the workplace is not acceptable. Earlier this year, MOM updated the Fair Consideration Framework and increased penalties across the board for all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on age, race, nationality, gender and disability. We investigate all complaints that are brought to our attention. Where employers have been found to be discriminatory, we have taken firm action. This includes suspending work pass privileges of employers with discriminatory practices or prosecuting them for violating the law.
  4. EAs are key labour market intermediaries that help employers fill vacant positions. Three in 10 positions are filled through EAs. While most EAs are careful to uphold fair hiring, MOM has received around 20 complaints annually in the last three years, against EAs for discriminatory job advertisements. Following investigations, MOM found it necessary to take action against almost all of these EAs.
  5. To make clear the obligations of EAs to uphold fair hiring, we will introduce new licence conditions for EAs. Taking effect from 1 October 2020, the new licence conditions will require the nearly 3,900 EAs licensed by MOM to comply with the fair recruitment requirements set out in the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP) when recruiting on behalf of their clients.
  6. In addition to helping their clients fulfil job advertising requirements, EAs must also:
    1. Brief their clients on the fair recruitment requirements in the TGFEP;
    2. Make reasonable efforts to attract Singaporeans for vacancies that they are trying to fill; and
    3. Consider all candidates based on merit.
  7. EAs must not in any way abet discriminatory hiring by their clients, for example, by withholding applications on the basis of age, race, nationality, gender and disability. EAs must also turn down requests or instructions from clients to carry out discriminatory hiring. EAs that fail to comply with licence conditions may be issued with demerit points, have their licence suspended or revoked, or face prosecution. The full list of new EA licence conditions are available on MOM’s website:

    MOM to Recognise Progressive Employment Agencies with New Human Capital Partnership Mark for Employment Agencies
  8. In addition, MOM will introduce a new Human Capital Partnership (HCP) Mark for EAs to recognise progressive EAs that have demonstrated strong commitment to fair recruitment practices and helped employers to strengthen their Singaporean core.
  9. This is an expansion of the tripartite HCP Programme which has recognised over 550 exemplary employers to date. With the HCP Mark for EAs, employers will be able to identify the best-in-class EAs that can help them grow their businesses and stay competitive by developing a strong local talent pipeline.
  10. MOM is in the process of shortlisting EAs that qualify for the HCP Mark for EAs, and expects to admit the first group of such EAs to the HCP Programme later this year.

    MOM to appoint Employment Agencies as SGUnited Jobs and Skills Placement Partners
  11. MOM will also appoint selected EAs that had demonstrated the ability to hire fairly as Placement Partners to help local jobseekers secure jobs and traineeships under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.
  12. Through this initiative, MOM will provide funding support to Placement Partners to place mature jobseekers, long-term unemployed jobseekers or persons with disabilities into jobs and traineeships. This initiative will create additional pathways for more vulnerable local jobseekers to access professional career matching services and opportunities suited to their skills and aspirations.
  13. More details will be announced at a later date.

  14. MOM appreciates that EAs play an important role in ensuring fair hiring. At the same time that we tighten licence conditions, we aim to recognise progressive EAs and enhance support so they can place more local jobseekers into suitable openings. We urge EAs to do their part to help Singaporeans access good jobs and make progress in their careers, especially at this challenging time.