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Singapore's WorkRight programme wins UN Public Service Award

Mohamad Yuni (right), retired police senior staff sergeant, interviewing a driver of a company. He is part of a 20-man WorkRight inspection team formed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), who conducts inspections on firms to make sure they pay workers on time and do not short-change them on leave and overtime wages.

SINGAPORE'S WorkRight initiative has won the "Promoting Whole-of-Government Approaches in the Information Age" category of the United Nations' Public Service Awards for the Asia-Pacific.

The WorkRight programme was started in September 2012 and aims to ensure that workers, especially lower-wage employees, enjoy their basic employment rights. The government, unions, businesses and community groups helped with education efforts aimed at both employers and employees. Inspections by regulators were also stepped up.

The Ministry of Manpower and the Central Provident Fund Board said WorkRight has benefited more than 42,000 Singaporeans as at April 1. In sectors such as food and beverage, retail, security and cleaning, where non-compliance has traditionally been higher, compliance is now nine out of 10, compared to seven out of 10 in 2013.

"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," Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say said in a statement. "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."

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