Workplace harassment a concern, say MPs

The far-reaching influence of the global #MeToo movement was evident in Parliament yesterday, with MPs raising concerns about workplace harassment and the gender pay gap.

Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC), Nominated MP K. Thanaletchimi and Non-Constituency MP Dennis Tan asked what more could be done about such harassment, during a debate on the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) budget.

Mr Ng noted that the Association of Women for Action and Research's Sexual Assault Care Centre recorded 108 cases of workplace-related incidents last year, up from 91 cases in 2016 and 66 in 2015. "This suggests workplace harassment is a common problem that employees are increasingly voicing out against," he said.

Mr Tan suggested having clearer guidelines, adding: "As seen in recent debates around the globe, it can be sometimes ambiguous to perpetrators what constitutes sexual harassment."

Ms Thanaletchimi told Parliament that more needs to be done to educate employees on how to respond to workplace abuse and harassment and urged MOM to make the reporting of such behaviour mandatory.

In response, Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo said some employees prefer to resolve harassment issues by reporting such incidents to their employers, rather than involving the authorities.