Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

Singapore takes new measures to support construction worker retention

Out-Law News | 09 Nov 2021 | 4:06 am | 1 min. read

Singapore will roll out new measures to help the retention of work permit holders (WPHs) and tackle the manpower shortage issue that firms in the construction, marine shipyard and process (CMP) sectors are facing.

Measures announced include the extension of the retention scheme in the construction sector to the marine shipyard and process sectors, and the adjustment of the change of employer without consent period for WPHs in the CMP sectors, according to Singapore’s manpower ministry (MOM).

Mayumi Soh of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint law venture between MPillay and Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: “The retention scheme introduced in the construction sector has now been extended to the marine shipyard and process sectors. This will hopefully alleviate the manpower crunch faced in this sector, as well as support foreign workers who are seeking to find new employment in Singapore.”

The worker retention scheme in the construction sector was introduced in September by the MOM and the Singapore Contractors Association Ltd (SCAL). Under the scheme, experienced construction workers whose employment has been terminated but who wish to continue working in Singapore will be allowed to find a new job with the SCAL’s assistance. The scheme will last for six months until 28 February 2022, subject to further review.

Currently, prospective employers can hire a work permit holder without the consent of the original employer during the 21 to 40 day period before the work permit expires.

From now, work permit holders will continue to be employed by their current employer until the work permit expires, and then the permit may be extended for a 30-day period by mutual agreement between the worker and employer. The worker may use that 30-day period to look for another employer without the consent of the original employer, who also gets to retain the worker for up to 30 days.

If a worker and their employer do not mutually agree to extend the work permit by 30 days, the worker will be placed under the worker retention schemes and industry associations will help with job-matching with a new employer within 30 days.

The adjustment to the change of employer without consent period will be implemented from 8 November in the construction sector and gradually in the marine shipyard and process sectors from a later date.