TL;DR, Enhanced TGFEP guidelines will ensure all individuals feel valued, engaged, and respected at the workplace.
Today, organisations that operate as a network of teams thrive on empowerment, open dialogues, and inclusive working styles. Diversity continues to be an important theme in workplaces as many companies rely on employees worldwide, leveraging their diversity and local expertise to gain a competitive edge.
With such diversity, every employer should cultivate an inclusive workplace. Employers need to appreciate differences in employees and maximise potential.
However, inclusion goes beyond hiring employees of diverse ethnicities, races, and religious backgrounds. It is an intentional effort to create an environment that values and welcomes employees of all backgrounds and walks of life.
To build a sense of belonging, employers are inclined to do more to support various causes within the workplace domain, where individuals of different backgrounds and beliefs work. Examples may include organising or participating in activities held in support of causes unrelated to the business of the employer or the core work of the employees.
Unfortunately, fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace in these ways does come with a handful of challenges- misunderstandings and friction arising from different backgrounds and beliefs can occur.
The tripartite partners – Ministry of Manpower, National Trades Union Congress, and Singapore National Employers Federation, recognise the importance of proactively preserving a harmonious workplace where employers and employees can thrive, regardless of their backgrounds and beliefs.
Beginning mid-February 2023, the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP) are enhanced with additional guidelines for employers and employees on exercising sensitivity at the workplace pertaining to activities that are not related to work.
How does the TGFEP define “non-work-related”?
Non-work-related activities are those that are not related to an employee’s job scope or not related to the business of the employer. These may include:
⭕Campaigns such as on climate change
⭕Cause-based events such as Purple Parade, Pride, and yellow-ribbon related events
⭕Employee support or resource groups
Team bonding activities are typically considered work-related in view of their intent to help the team work better together. Therefore, they will not be covered by the additional guidelines specific to non-work-related activities.
Employers are expected to abide by the principles of fair employment practices set out in the TGFEP, including these additional guidelines highlighting the importance of building and maintaining a harmonious workplace where all individuals continue to feel valued, engaged, and respected.
The enhanced guidelines are:
✅ Employers should be sensitive to the diverse cultures, values and beliefs of their employees when developing, promoting or implementing events, programmes and policies that are not related to work.
✅ Support for any cause should not lead to bullying, harassment, or ostracism at the workplace in any circumstances. Employers should provide employees with a safe environment to raise their concerns, including through a proper grievance-handling process.
✅ Employees and job seekers should be assessed for performance, promotion and related areas based only on work-related requirements, as stipulated in the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices.
✅ Employees should not be required or pressured to participate in events, programmes and policies unrelated to work. Non-support or non-participation should not affect their employment outcomes.
✅Employers should continue demonstrating and communicating the importance of an inclusive and harmonious workplace.
Employees who wish to report instances of non-compliance with the TGFEP can reach out to the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) at www.tal.sg/tafep/contact-us. TAFEP will look into the reports and refer cases of non-compliance to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for investigation.