In an addition to its guidelines, Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) has made clear that it is now discriminatory to include declarations on mental health conditions in job application forms.

The addition, made last month, to the TAFEP website noted that apart from age, gender, race, religion, and more; all declarations on mental health condition should also be removed from the job application forms.

In a statement to Human Resources Online, a TAFEP spokesperson said the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices clearly require all employers to recruit and select employees on the basis of merit.

Only information relevant to assessing an applicant’s suitability for a job should be collected in application forms. Therefore, self-declarations about mental health conditions should not be included unless employers can adequately explain the relevance of the information.

"If an employer fails to prove the relevance of requiring such information, TAFEP may refer the case to MOM for enforcement actions on the grounds of discrimination," the spokesperson said.

According to the 2018 Singapore Mental Health Survey, 1 in 7 have experienced a mental health condition at some point in their lives.

"In general, most mental health conditions can be adequately managed and not affect whether an employee can perform his or her job duties. It is therefore important that people with mental health conditions are not discriminated in seeking employment or in employment," the spokesperson added.

To create greater awareness among employers so that they would not inadvertently discriminate against employees with mental health conditions, TAFEP has proactively engaged more than 8,000 employers through electronic direct mailers, posts on TAFEP’s social media pages and content on TAFEP’s website.

This effort is part of TAFEP’s regular efforts to raise awareness among employers not to discriminate against job applicants and employees on any ground, including age, gender and nationality.

Dos and don'ts of job application forms

Do ask for:

  • Whether the applicant has the required skills (e.g. IT and literacy skills).
  • Whether the applicant has experience in a similar job.

Do not ask for:

  • Age (e.g. NRIC, date of birth): Other forms of identification (e.g. passport number) should be allowed for, as NRIC numbers can reveal the age of a person.
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Marital status and family responsibilities (e.g. whether pregnant or have children)
  • Disability
  • Photograph(s)
  • National Service liability
  • Mental health condition

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