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SINGAPORE: MIGRANT WORKERS


transport, security, trade and industry, and finance, has been overseeing various measures to manage the presence of migrant workers in Singapore and provide for their multifaceted needs. These measures include: reviewing and enforcing employment and recruitment legislation; developing and managing the housing and recreation infrastructure to support the needs of the migrant worker population; and stepping up education and outreach.


Protections for vulnerable migrant workers


Singapore takes a serious view on the exploitation of workers and we take steps to ensure that our migrant workforce is fairly treated. Our surveys show that more than 90 per cent of migrant workers are satisfied with their overall experience of working


in Singapore; and more than 80 per cent would wish to continue working here. While the overall situation is generally good, we are nevertheless constantly reviewing our approach and finding ways to improve our system to protect the more vulnerable segments of our workforce. Workers in Singapore, including migrant workers, are given comprehensive protection under our employment and recruitment legislation. The Employment Act, which covers both local and foreign employees without prejudice to nationality, requires employers to comply with minimum standards of employment.


These standards include protection pertaining to areas such as (a) timely and regular payment of salary; (b) rest days; (c) working hours; and (d) work-injury compensation.


Protection more specific to the context of migrant workers is also provided under an additional piece


“Singapore takes a serious view on the exploitation of workers and we take steps to ensure that our migrant workforce is fairly treated.”


of legislation: the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. Employers are required, among other obligations, to ensure that their low-wage migrant workers have acceptable accommodation and to provide


Opposite page: Hawker stall markets in Singapore; Above: The group photograph celebrating Foreign Domestic Workers Day


and bear the cost of these workers’ medical treatment and their eventual passage home.


These employment standards are strictly enforced. Proactive inspections are conducted at workplaces and where workers stay. By and large, employers in Singapore are generally law-abiding, but we do occasionally encounter errant employers. For such cases, the government takes a firm enforcement stance to deter future contraventions.


Moreover, the government regularly reviews its legislative


The Parliamentarian | 2014: Issue Three | 159


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