Singaporeans will enjoy more SkillsFuture credits, more targeted policies for workers aged 40 to 60, and SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit for Employers that were announced in Budget 2020.
But how many of us know the Labour MP who has been repeatedly
nagging asking the government for these support year after year after year?
Who is this Labour MP?
Patrick Tay is a Labour MP with NTUC. He was apparently an NTUC FairPrice cashier in his younger days, and is now the Executive Secretary for the largest union in Singapore (SMMWU).
A visit his LinkedIn showed up a whole list of other hats he wears such as Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee on Manpower.
He’s been helping workers with jobs for years, even when he was an industry liaison officer.
What did Patrick Tay lobby for in the past?
Quite a lot of things actually.
Since 2011, he lobbied for the government to look into Labour Market Testing (where companies should give Singaporeans consideration before employing foreigners), and a jobs bank to list available jobs. MOM eventually launched the Fair Consideration Framework and National Jobs Bank a few years later.
He asked for SkillsFuture credit top-up in 2017, and repeated this point in 2019, before the government announced the $500 top-up in Budget 2020 (plus another $500 for Singaporeans aged 40 to 60 years old).
Patrick Tay has also raised issues that workers above 40 years old face, such as:
- higher risk of retrenchment
- taking a longer time to find job
- needing a second skill (and hopefully civil service can lead the way by hiring mature PMEs)
- finding jobs (and how e2i and union UWEEI helped one mature worker)
- and most recently in 2020, questioned the effectiveness of the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP), Career Support Programme (CSP) and Jobs Bank (now known as My Careers Future portal) in helping mature PMEs find jobs
After his multiple lobbying on issues affecting workers, several new measures were introduced by the government, like:
- allowing the Special Employment Scheme in 2013 to cover more mature workers
- expanding the Employment Act to cover all workers, and
- changing the Industrial Relations Act so all unions can collectively represent PMEs
- extending absentee payroll to freelancers and self-employed to encourage them to go for training
- stricter rules in Fair Consideration Framework
To advocate for a stronger Singaporean core, he has repeatedly:
- questioned the effectiveness of the FCF (eliciting multiple clarifications from MOM)
- lobbied for FCF requirements to be reviewed and strengthened (subsequently the National Jobs Banks criteria has been expanded to more companies, and the duration of advertisement has doubled to 28 days)
- extending FCF to S Pass (now even S Pass jobs are listed on National Jobs Bank)
- asked MOM to raise the cost of hiring foreign manpower (subsequently leading to higher minimum qualifying salaries for Employment Pass and S Pass)
- encouraged MOM to name and shame errant companies (more names have been released these few years)
He just wouldn’t give up. If something he thinks should be done, and it hasn’t been done yet, he will just repeat again and again.
What about other vulnerable people in Singapore?
A quick search revealed that Patrick Tay has also spoken up for:
- vulnerable children and women who are victims of violence
- caring for elderly
- stay-at-home mums, unwed fathers and foster parents
- maternity protection for pregnant mums
- helping women get back to work
- SMEs and freelancers
- abandoned seafarers
- harassed victims
- disguised PMEs shortchanged by employers
- disguised retrenchments
- workers owed unpaid wages by companies
- workers who were unfairly dismissed
- special needs workers
- and others (he has too many articles online for us to look through everything)
He also facilitates legal primer talks on a regular basis with LawWorks, covering tough topics like workplace discrimination, sexual harassment at the workplace, freelancer rights and PDPA.
And he used to arrest criminals to keep Singapore safe.
Editing is my work.