In 2004, the United States – Singapore Free Trade Agreement (USSFTA) went into effect and over the past two decades, both countries have seen notable growth in bilateral trading and investments. In short, business is booming—there are over 4,200 American companies operating here. In fact,the U.S. – Singapore trade surplus topped $9 billion in 2020. It’s no wonder that the two countries initially formed the agreement because Singapore has consistently been chosen by the World Bank to be among the top nations to conduct business in. It’s an ideal location for companies who are trading in the Asia-Pacific region.
American employers greatly benefit Singapore’s local economy because the majority of them hire at least 50% of their workers locally—that includes management personnel! Moreover, the employees who transfer to the new location moving their families to the area boost local economies even more.
Many U.S. employers operate drug-free workplaces and there are no laws in Singapore regarding employee drug testing. Therefore, employers are free to implement drug-free workplace policies and procedures that include it. Singaporeans applying for jobs may be asked to submit to a pre-employment drug test. Moreover, some, but not all, employers also do random employee drug testing at periodic intervals throughout the year.
Drug-free workplaces normally require post-accident drug testing too as it can be a valuable tool in determining responsibility. Of course, American employees who transfer to work abroad are subject to the same drug testing protocols. Drug use is reportedly out of control in the U.S. since the opioid epedemic began over two decades ago. It’s no wonder employers include drug testing in their company policies and procedures there!
Some may wonder why American companies bother to drug test employees because drug use is forbidden in Singapore. Period. Singaporeans understand the seriousness of going against that mandate. The penalties for testing positive for drug use in this country include serving up to ten years in jail, a fine of up to $20,000, or both.
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) have taken such a hard stance against drug use that anyone entering the country could be subjected to a random drug test when landing at the airport. Random airport drug testing pertains to anyone—visitors to the country included. The penalties above apply so failing it could mean jailtime even though the drugs were obviously consumed before entering the country.
It’s extremely obvious that using drugs isn’t worth the risk of being caught at it. Moreover, American employers realize that most people think that way. They know that the majority of people holding down jobs don’t use drugs illegally. That’s true no matter what country that you operate a business in.
However, there will likely always be people who get caught up in the throes of addiction and may not be able to stop themselves. Drug abusers also get well practiced at hiding the fact that they’re using. If someone is impaired by drug use, their cognitive skills, as well as mobility, can be negatively affected. That puts them at an elevated risk of being in, or causing, an accident. Anyone who is near them during the period of impairment is put at higher risk too.
The number one reason that employers give for establishing drug-free workplaces is because employee safety is their top priority. No one deserves to go to work one day only to have a family member receive a call at some point notifying them that their loved one has been injured—or worse—because a fellow employee was getting high on the clock.
Employee drug testing actually deters users from ever applying for a position in the first place! There are other benefits which include fewer workplace accidents, lower rates of absenteeism, and productivity notably increases. The productivity increase could be a natural byproduct of having happier employees. People who work in drug-free environments generally feel as if their employers actually care about their well-being. Thereby, they feel satisfied with their jobs and are less likely to move on to work for other companies at a future point.
Ultimately, if an employee tests positive for drug use, the penalty is a harsh one and most always leads to termination.
However, American employers who care about their employees, care about their employees. They, like the MHA are committed to creating a drug-free environment for the people who work for them. In addition to drug testing, drug-free companies offer preventive drug education (PDE) because education allows people to make calculated decisions as to how using drugs could affect their individual lives.
Should an employee test positive for drug use, concerned employers express that they sincerely care about the individual and have sincere hopes for their future. They also pass along a list of Drug Rehabilitation Centers (DRCs) that can help them stop their drug use. The DRCs are incorporated with the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). It supervises recovered abusers to facilitate their reintegration into society through its coordinated aftercare network.