Workplace Fairness Legislation

The Workplace Fairness Legislation (WFL), a law against discrimination in the workplace, is expected to come into force in 2024. The Government of Singapore has just accepted the recommendations of the Tripartite Committee on Workplace Fairness in August 2023.
The legislation is intended to strengthen Singapore’s anti-discrimination framework as protection against discrimination which currently exists only through the ratification of ILO Convention No. 100 on equal pay for male and female workers and through the so-called "Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices", which, however, do not have the force of law.

Discrimination Protection

The WFL provides for discrimination protection for age, nationality, sex, marital status, pregnancy status, caregiving responsibilities, race, religion, language, disability, and mental health conditions. The legislation will cover all stages of employment, from recruitment to termination. 
It includes a ban on discriminatory job advertisements, as well as legislate the requirement for a job advertisement for Employment Pass and S-Pass applications under the existing Fair Consideration Framework, and a ban on retaliation against people who report cases of discrimination or harassment in the workplace. 


In case of infringements, the law is intended to provide monetary compensation for the employee as well as a range of penalties including corrective work orders, financial penalties, and work pass curtailment.
However, exceptions are planned for companies with fewer than 25 employees, which will be exempt for at least the first five years, and for religious organisations that make employment decisions based on religion.
It is also not a violation if the characteristic is a genuine and reasonable job requirement or if the employer favours people with disabilities and seniors (55 years and above) over other groups in employment decisions, even if another candidate is equally or more qualified.
Therefore, monitoring future legislation and ensuring compliance with WFL requirements for all employees from the recruitment process onwards should be on the to-do list for companies in Singapore. 

 From The Newsletter


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