Yellow Ribbon Singapore, a statutory board under the Ministry of Home Affairs, has helped around 780 ex-offenders to get jobs under the Job Growth Incentive (JGI) scheme which encourages firms to hire more locals. Tan See Leng, Manpower Minister stated that up to 56% of the ex-offenders have been assisted by the government to get hired by companies and firms. Because of the employer’s inability to meet the required increase in the local headcount, the remaining 44% were ineligible for the JGI scheme. Environmental services, food services, logistics, wholesale trade, and construction were the top five hiring sectors accounting for almost eight in 10 of JGI-supported ex-offenders.
$1 billion wage support has been reserved by the Singapore government for companies that provide jobs to the locals aged 40 and above, people with disabilities, or former offenders receiving co-payments of up to 50 per cent of the first $6,000 of their gross monthly income for up to 18 months. Responding to the questions raised in Parliament, Tan See Leng noted that more than a third of ex-offenders released from prison have been helped by the Yellow Ribbon Singapore in getting hired with 96% eventually finding a job.
The JGI of up to $54,000 will be given to employers who have hired ex-offenders, and agencies and institutions which have helped in the employability and integration processes like Yellow Ribbon, the Industrial and Services Co-operative Society, or halfway houses engaged by the Singapore Prison Service.
To collaborate and work with the ex-offender and employer, Yellow Ribbon also designates a career coach for up to a year.
There were valid questions raised in the Parliament about the equality and pay parity that would be extended to the ex-offenders. Dr. Tan assured all that if the employees prove their worth in the company, it would be in the best interest for the employer to keep them in the company or they would waste months of effort training and lose a skilled worker. He also stated that it could not be expected of the employer to retain every single worker with the changing business circumstances and manpower needs.
"I would like to give all workers the assurance that unfair treatment will be taken seriously," he said. "Any employee who experiences unfair treatment can approach the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices, or Tafep, which will investigate such complaints."
More than 1,600 people with disabilities have been hired under the Job Growth Incentive(JGI) scheme as of February 2021. By 2023, training and coaching hubs in regional centers will be built for the intentional development of soft skills under the scheme.