Employment rights could be extended in Singapore

Out-Law News | 19 Jan 2018 | 3:12 pm | 1 min. read

Employment rights stipulated in law in Singapore could be extended to all employees in the city state under potential reforms being consulted on by the government.

Currently, many employees enjoy statutory rights to public holidays, sick leave entitlements, payment of salary and allowable deductions, and to redress for wrongful dismissal under Singapore' Employment Act. However, managers and executives that earn more than SIN€4,500 ($3,400) a month are excluded from those core rights. The Ministry of Manpower (MoM) said those employees "already have access to many of these provisions".

The MoM has asked stakeholders (8-page / 351KB PDF), however, whether the statutory rights should be "extended to all employees".

The Ministry is also consulting on salary thresholds for determining which employees should benefit from "additional protections" under law, such as in relation to annual leave, hours of work, overtime pay and rest days.

Further potential reforms could see changes made to the existing system for resolving employment disputes in Singapore. At the moment the Employment Claims Tribunals hear statutory and contractual salary-related disputes, whereas the MoM hears claims for wrongful dismissal.

"Given that dismissal-related claims are usually coupled with salary issues, the affected employee has to go to two different parties for their issues to be resolved, rather than just one party," the Ministry said. "MoM is reviewing this process to make it more streamlined for employees and employers, and would like to invite views on how we can do so."

MoM's consultation on the issues is open until 15 February. It said its review is designed to ensure the law "keep[s] pace with the changing labour force profile and employment landscape". The last changes to the Employment Act were made in 2015.

Bryan Tan of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint law venture between MPillay and Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said any changes made to the Employment Act that stem from the MoM review could require employers to carry out their own review of employment contracts.