1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) invites members of the public to give feedback on areas being considered in the review of the Employment Act (EA).
2. The EA is Singapore’s main employment law. It provides for the basic terms and working conditions for employees, while balancing employers’ need to stay competitive. Together with our tripartite partners, we regularly review the EA to keep pace with the changing labour force profile and employment landscape. The EA was last reviewed in 2012, including the salary thresholds, and the latest amendments came into effect in 2015.
3. Since then, the tripartite partners – MOM, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) – have had further discussions about possible areas for future review. We would now like to seek public feedback on the broad areas of review which have been identified and set out below to ensure the EA remains relevant, with a focus on enhancing its coverage.
AREAS OF REVIEW
A. Core provisions
4. The EA stipulates core provisions such as public holiday and sick leave entitlements, timely payment of salary and allowable deductions, and redress for wrongful dismissal. Today, these core provisions cover all employees1 except managers and executives2 earning more than $4,5003 per month. Employees not covered by the EA already have access to many of these provisions. We would like to invite views on whether such core provisions should be extended to all employees.
B. Additional protection for more vulnerable employees
5. Beyond the core provisions enjoyed by all employees covered under the EA, additional protection for more vulnerable employees is currently stated in Part IV of the EA and relate to time-based provisions such as annual leave, hours of work, overtime pay and rest day. Today, these cover non-workmen4 earning up to $2,500 per month, and workmen5 earning up to $4,500 per month. We would like to invite views on the appropriate level for these salary thresholds.
C. Enhance dispute resolution services
6. Currently, statutory and contractual salary-related disputes are heard by the Employment Claims Tribunals (ECT), while wrongful dismissal claims are heard by the Minister for Manpower. Given that dismissal-related claims are usually coupled with salary issues, the affected employee has to go to two different parties today for their issues to be resolved, rather than just one party. We are reviewing this process to make it more streamlined for employees and employers, and would like to invite views on how we can do so.
7. More details about EA coverage are set out in the Annex. In view of the review of the salary thresholds, we welcome views on how the provisions can be enhanced to provide more flexibility, for employers and employees.
8. The consultation exercise will be open from 18 Jan 2018 to 15 Feb 2018.
9. We seek your support to ensure that the consultation exercise is productive and focused, and would like to request that respondents:
a. Identify yourself and the organisation you represent (if applicable), as that would assist in our understanding of the impact of the proposed changes on different stakeholder groups;
b. Make your comments clear and concise;
c. Identify the specific proposal you are commenting on, and provide your comments on how the proposals/features can be improved or made clearer; and
d. As far as possible, explain your points with illustrations and examples.
Please submit your feedback through this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
with the subject heading “Consultation on EA review”.
11. Thank you.
1 Except domestic workers, public servants and seafarers.
2 Professionals such as doctors and lawyers who require professional qualifications are considered as managers and executives for purposes of EA coverage.
3All references to salary refer to basic monthly salary which excludes payment of overtime, bonus, annual wage supplement, productivity incentive payment, reimbursement for special expenses and all allowances.
4 In the context of the EA, “non-workmen” refers to rank-and-file employees in “white collar” occupations e.g. clerks, receptionists, retail sales assistants.
5 In the EA, “workmen” refers to rank-and-file employees engaged in manual work e.g. cleaner, construction worker, labourer, machine operator and assembler, train/bus/lorry/van driver.