Junior College/Centralised Institute










Vice Principals






















Reply to paragraph 16 of the list of issues

70.Through the concerted efforts of the tripartite partners (i.e. MOM, National Trades Union Congress and Singapore National Employers Federation), Singapore has made steady progress in the area of flexible work arrangements in the past 10 years. In 2016, 67 per cent of employees worked in firms that offer formal flexible work arrangements (such as part-time and staggered working hours), up from 56 per cent in 2011. Similarly, in 2016, 82 per cent of employees worked in firms that offer ad-hoc flexible work arrangements (such as unplanned time-off), up from 72 per cent in 2011. At the same time, the employment rate of women (aged 25-64) increased steadily from 69 per cent in 2012 to 72 per cent in 2016, bringing Singapore from being 16th (compared to 35 OECD countries), to 13th.

71.From 2013 to March 2017, the number of child care places increased by more than 40,000 places, surpassing the target of 20,000. There are now enough places for one in two children island-wide. The Government will continue increasing child care capacity, especially in estates with many young families.

72.Singapore has adopted a multi-pronged approach to help women stay in the workforce, especially mothers; and for non-working women to get back into the workforce.

(a)Encourage companies to offer flexible work arrangements (FWAs) to their employees. FWAs are important in helping females, especially mothers, better manage their work and family responsibilities. The Tripartite Committee on Work-Life Strategy (TriCom), which comprises members from government agencies, tripartite partners and employers, promotes work-life practices, in particular FWAs, as a strategy to optimise business performance and facilitate employees to manage their own work-life fit. In 2014, the TriCom launched a Tripartite Advisory on Flexible Work Arrangements to guide employers, employees and supervisors on effective implementation of FWAs at their workplaces. To recognise companies who have adopted FWAs and encourage more to do so, the tripartite partners will be launching the Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements, which outlines verifiable, actionable best practices for the successful adoption of flexible work arrangements, by the end of 2017. In addition, the Government introduced the WorkPro Work-Life Grant in April 2013 to provide financial support to incentivise employers to implement FWAs. Employers can receive up to S$160,000 over four years to defray the costs of developing, piloting and implementing work-life strategies, particularly FWAs;

(b)Encouraging and helping mothers to return to the workforce. MOM will support the National Trades Union Congress’ Returnship Programme to facilitate the re-entry of individuals who have been out of the workforce for a period of time, including returning mothers. To ease these returners back into employment, MOM will be encouraging companies to offer more part-time and job sharing opportunities. Such options are important, because they give returners an option to reduce or adjust their workload so that they can better manage their multiple responsibilities (e.g. caregiving);

(c)Helping women to stay employable and be future-ready. Women can benefit from the Adapt and Grow package of schemes, which provide employment and placement support for workers re-entering the workforce, or transiting to new jobs. Women can also tap on subsidies for self-sponsored training (e.g. SkillsFuture Credit, SkillsFuture Mid-career Enhanced Subsidy for Singaporeans aged 40 or older). This could, for instance, facilitate the upskilling of women outside the workforce in preparation for re-entrance.

73.All employers are expected to adopt the principles of fair and merit-based employment, in line with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices. The Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), as the advocate and champion for fair employment practices, plays an active role in looking into such complaints and refers cases to MOM for investigation where warranted. Workers who face workplace discrimination may approach TAFEP for advice and assistance.

74.Twenty-four companies have been taken to task between 2014 and 2016 for discrimination against women. These cases involved discriminatory job advertisements which stated a preference for men, without stating a valid reason based on the job requirements. These employers had their work pass privileges curtailed or were warned by MOM, and made to take down the discriminatory job advertisements.

75.TAFEP will step up its public education campaign to make people more conscious and sensitive about embracing diversity in the workforce, in order to eliminate discrimination. TAFEP will also ramp up training for HR practitioners to ensure recruitment and selection are based on the principles of fair and merit-based hiring, and publicise best practices in this area.

76.The median wage of women in Singapore has increased by more than 5 per cent per annum in the last 10 years — broadly similar to that for men. Currently, the median wage of females in Singapore is lower than that of males. More women than men tend to leave the workforce for caregiving purposes, resulting in fewer years of employment and working experience on average. We have adopted a multi‑pronged approach to help women stay in the workforce, especially mothers; and for non-working women to get back into the workforce (see above).

Reply to paragraph 17 of the list of issues

77.Singapore is committed to the principle of equal pay for equal work. Singapore ratified ILO Convention No. 100 on Equal Remuneration in May 2002 to signify its commitment to the principle of equal remuneration for men and women for work of equal value.

78.Following the ratification, the tripartite partners (i.e. the National Trades Union Congress, the Singapore Business Federation, the Singapore National Employers Federation and MOM) issued a Tripartite Declaration on Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Performing Work of Equal Value on 6 Nov 2002. The tripartite partners recommended that unionised companies adopt the equal pay principle by incorporating a clause on equal remuneration into their collective agreements.

79.Regarding vertical occupation segregation, women tend to sacrifice career for the family. Singapore’s approach has been to provide comprehensive skills, employment and workplace support to all individuals who are willing and able to work, so as to maximise their employment outcomes. This includes strategies to help women remain in the workforce even if they have other commitments, or return to work after any period of economic inactivity. Please see the reply to paragraph 16 of the list of issues

80.Regarding horizontal occupation segregation, more women are now found in traditionally male-dominated sectors, compared to the past. For example, the proportion of women doctors increased from 34 per cent in 2009 to 40 per cent in 2014. Women made up 29.0 per cent of research scientists and engineers (RSEs) in 2014, up from 26.5 per cent in 2009. Between 2013 and 2014, the number of women RSEs grew by 4.8 per cent, compared to the growth of men RSEs at 2.0 per cent. As at 2015, 8 women had been appointed senior counsel (Singapore’s equivalent of Queen’s Counsel). In 2016, the first female judge, Justice Judith Prakash, was appointed as a permanent judge of the Singapore Court of Appeal.

Women migrant domestic workers and foreign women

Reply to paragraph 18 of the list of issues

81.There is comprehensive protection for foreign domestic workers (FDWs) under Singapore’s laws. All FDWs are protected under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) which imposes Work Pass (WP) conditions on employers to look after the well-being of their FDWs, such as personal safety, acceptable accommodation, adequate food and rest, prompt salary payment and provision of medical treatment. The EFMA was enhanced in November 2012 to impose harsher penalties on employers who are found in breach of work pass conditions. They can now be punished with a fine of up to S$10,000 and/or a jail term of up to one year (previous maximum penalty was a fine of S$5,000 and/or a jail term of up to 6 months).

82.In August 2012, MOM imposed more stringent requirements to ensure the safety of FDWs working in Singapore’s highly-urbanised environment. For example, employers are prohibited from asking their FDWs to clean window exteriors above ground level, unless the FDW is supervised, and window grilles are installed and locked during the cleaning process. Besides facing enhanced penalties, errant employers may also be permanently barred from hiring a FDW.

83.From January 2013, employers are required to provide their FDWs with a weekly rest day or compensation in-lieu. This requirement followed extensive consultations with both employers and FDWs, who prefer flexibility in allowing them to work out a mutually agreeable arrangement. If there is mutual written agreement between the employer and FDW for the FDW to work on her rest day, the FDW must be compensated with either a replacement rest day or monetary compensation pegged at the worker’s daily wage.

84.Employers who default on salary payments face a maximum fine of S$10,000 and/or jail sentence of up to 1 year. From 2007 to 31 March 2017, 70 employers were convicted, fined and barred from hiring FDWs for various lengths of time depending on the severity of the offences.

85.All FDWs are also protected under the Penal Code. The Penal Code was amended in 1998 to increase the penalties imposed on employers or household members who abuse FDWs.

86.Employers convicted of abuse against FDWs are permanently barred from employing another FDW. For abuse cases involving FDWs, the Police investigate all cases where criminal offences have been reported. In 2014 and 2015, there were about 30 substantiated cases per year involving FDWs as victims, and employer or members of employer’s household as offenders. This is despite an increase in the FDW population by 4 per cent between 2014 and 2015.

87.Employment Agencies (EAs) serve as the intermediary between employers and workers in FDW recruitment. Singapore regulates the EAs via the framework set out in the EA Act, EA Rules and administrative conditions such as EA Licence Conditions. FDWs and employers who have disagreements concerning their contracts can approach CaseTrust or the Association of EAs (Singapore) for mediation. The EAs regulatory framework was amended with effect from 1 April 2011 to raise the standard of recruitment practices and minimise malpractices in the industry.

88.FDWs can report grievances through channels such as a toll-free FDW helpline manned by MOM officers. During the Settling-In Programme, all FDWs are given the helpline number, pre-paid mailers addressed to MOM where FDWs could send their feedback in, and other important contact numbers (e.g. those of their embassies, non-government organisations and the police). MOM also conducts interviews with randomly-selected first-time FDWs during their initial months of employment. These interviews allow MOM to determine if the new FDWs have adjusted to the Singapore’s work environment and to reiterate to FDWs the importance of safe working conditions, and their rights and responsibilities.

89.Complaints from FDWs of physical and sexual abuse by employers are investigated by the police. Where investigations are ongoing, every effort will be made to ensure that the affected FDW is provided accommodation, food and counselling as required. FDWs are allowed to seek employment during this period. MOM will facilitate a temporary change of employer for the duration of investigations and criminal proceedings, which can be effected without the need for their employers’ consent. The FDWs are given the option to convert their temporary employment to permanent when the case is concluded.

Reply to the issues raised in paragraph 19 of the list of issues

90.As a responsible member of the international community, Singapore takes its international obligations seriously. We will only sign on to a treaty when we are sure that we can comply fully with all the obligations. Our focus is on the full and effective implementation of the treaty commitments we have undertaken. We will continue to review our laws and policies with a view to ratifying more treaties.

91.Regarding ILO Convention No. 111 (1958) concerning discrimination in employment and occupation, we believe that enacting anti-discrimination legislation would introduce labour market rigidities that might erode Singapore’s economic competitiveness while not necessarily eliminating discrimination. Nevertheless, TAFEP partners employers, unions and the Government to create awareness and facilitate the adoption of fair, responsible and merit-based employment practices. This encompasses non-discrimination on the basis of age, race, gender, religion, family status or disability. Singapore will continue to review our approach to dealing with employment discrimination and the prospect of ratifying ILO Convention No. 111.

92.Regarding ILO convention No. 189 (2011) concerning decent work for domestic workers, Singapore is committed to protecting the rights and well-being of our foreign domestic workers (FDWs). Although we have not ratified this Convention, we support the principles behind it, and have been reviewing our legislation regularly to ensure the well-being of FDWs and to protect their employment rights. Singapore will continue to carefully review our relevant policies and legislation, with a view to raising the minimum employment standards of FDWs.

Reply to the issues raised in paragraph 20 of the list of issues

93.There were over 18,000 Letter of Consent (LOC) applications submitted by foreign spouses of Singapore citizens and permanent residents between January and December 2016. Over 95 per cent of these LOC applications were approved and amongst this pool, close to 90 per cent were approved within 2 weeks.

Refugees and asylum-seeking women

Reply to paragraph 21 of the list of issues

94.We are sympathetic to the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. But as a small, densely packed, crowded city-State with limited land, Singapore is not in a position to accept them. Singapore adheres to the principle of non-refoulement. Although we do not have facilities for refugees and asylum seekers, we provide humanitarian assistance by making arrangements for their safe departure to another country. We also coordinate with appropriate bodies, such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to send them to a third country within a certain time frame. Our law enforcement officers are provided with the relevant training to appropriately deal with female refugees.

Optional Protocol and amendment to article 20, paragraph 1

Reply to paragraph 23 of the list of issues

95.Singapore has ratified the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention on 20 August 2010.

96.The Singapore Government has given further consideration to the Optional Protocol to the Convention. The Optional Protocol will not be ratified at this time. The Government notes that the Optional Protocol serves to strengthen the implementation of the Convention within the jurisdiction of each State Party by giving the Committee the competence to receive and consider communications submitted in accordance with Article 2 of the Protocol. In Singapore, there are existing mechanisms to address individual complaints of gender discrimination. These mechanisms are not limited to legal action in court, but include mechanisms within Government agencies, Parliament and media. There has been no feedback of insufficient complaint channels so far. These mechanisms are kept under continual review to ensure maximum efficacy and compliance with the Convention.


Statistics on violence against women

1.The number of applications for protection orders filed by women decreased by 6 per cent from 2009 to 2016.

Table 1Number of applications for Personal Protection Orders/Expedited Orders/Domestic Exclusion Orders filed by womena

















aIncludes applications for PPOs only; PPO and Expedited Orders (EO); PPO and Domestic Exclusion Orders (DEO); and PPOs, EOs and DEOs. Depending on the situation, one or multiple orders may need to be in effect at the same time. When applying for an EO or DEO, a PPO must be applied at the same time. In cases where there are further incidents of family violence before the first court mention (and with affirmation of complaint before a duty judge) or after the PPO was issued; the complainant may apply for a DEO. Where there are further incidents after an application for a PPO is filed, the complainant may apply for an EO where there is imminent danger, if an EO had not been issued on the earlier application.

2.The number of female rape victims decreased significantly by 25 per cent from 2009 to 2014, while the number of women whose modesty was outraged increased slightly by 1 per cent over the same period.

Table 2Number of female rape victims

















Table 3Number of female victims whose modesty was outraged