Singapore initiative wins UN Public Service Awards

Singapore initiative wins UN Public Service Awards

SINGAPORE - Singapore has won first place in the 2015 United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA), in the category of 'Promoting Whole-of-Government Approaches in the Information Age' for the Asia-Pacific region.

This is the first time Singapore is winning the award.

The award was given out to Singapore based on the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB)'s campaign to raise national awareness of and compliance with employment laws through the WorkRight initiative.

Launched in September 2012, WorkRight is an initiative geared at ensuring that workers, particularly the more economically vulnerable groups such as low-wage workers, know their basic employment rights under the law. This is achieved through a two-pronged approach covering education and enforcement.

Public education efforts under WorkRight leveraged a mix of communication channels to raise awareness of the employment rights messages to the target audience. This includes traditional outreach channels, such as print, broadcast, social and digital media, and creative engagement platforms, such as a flash mob performance of a live musical performance.

Educational materials targeted at both employees and employers were also produced. For example, a handbook to educate security officers about their employment rights was co-produced with the Union of Security Employees. For employers, the 'WorkRight Self-Help Toolkit' was produced for employers to better identify and self-rectify areas of non-compliance with the employment laws.

MOM and CPFB also worked with various groups to implement community engagement initiatives, such as job fairs and employer briefing sessions.

Proactive inspections to ensure employers were compliant under WorkRight increased ten-fold from 500 to 5,000 a year.

MOM and CPFB said in a press statement that WorkRight has benefitted more than 42,000 Singaporeans as of April 1.

Employers are also now more aware of requirements, with 9 out of 10 employers from sectors which have higher non-compliance rates, becoming more compliant with employment laws - up from 7 out of 10 in 2013.

Minister for Manpower Mr Lim Swee Say said: "I am proud of the efforts put in by our officers, and the collaborative efforts of the tripartite partners in reaching out to our workers, especially the many lower wage workers who may not know their rights. We will continue to explore new and effective ways to serve our public better, from policy design, to service delivery and public engagement so as to achieve a better outcome for all."

MOM and CPFB will be receiving the award at the 2015 United Nations Public Service Forum, Day and Awards Ceremony in Colombia at the end of June.

ljessica@sph.com.sg

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