Published: 02 July 2021
1. From 7 July 2021, more categories of workers will be included as Public Service Workers (“PSWs”) under the Protection from Harassment (Public Service Worker) Order (“PSWO”), to provide enhanced protection for these workers against acts of abuse or harassment when they carry out their duties. This is the first review of the PSWO since its introduction in 2014.
2. The law recognises the importance of protecting public servants and PSWs from harassment because of the critical roles they play.
3. Currently, public-facing workers who deliver services that are essential for the well-being of the public or the proper functioning of Singapore are considered PSWs in the PSWO. This includes healthcare professionals in public healthcare institutions, educators in public schools and public sanitation workers with the Town Council.
4. Under the Protection from Harassment Act (“POHA”), an offender who abuses, harasses or doxxes a victim is liable for an imprisonment term of up to six months, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. Where the victim of harassment is a public servant or PSW who was performing his or her duty, the offender is liable for enhanced penalties of an imprisonment term of up to 12 months, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
Inclusion of More Categories of Workers as PSWs
5. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has reviewed the PSWO in consultation with other Ministries and agencies, and identified more workers who meet the criteria for a PSW and should receive enhanced protection against harassment. The new PSWs will include private hire car drivers, workers in MOE Kindergartens and early childhood development centres under the Anchor Operator Scheme or Partner Operator Scheme, private healthcare workers directly involved in COVID-19 operations, and workers in crisis shelters and welfare homes.
6. Please refer to the Annex (.pdf, 186kb) for the full list of PSWs.
7. The changes to the PSWO will take effect from 7 July 2021.