We have been getting a lot of employment related enquiries due to COVID-19. Those who have been terminated or had pay cuts understand the stress and difficulties associated with asserting their legal rights.
The Employment Lawyers at PKWA Law has extensive experience with providing legal expertise to SMEs and individuals regarding employment issues. If you’re looking for an employment lawyer to advise you on your rights, please contact us today.
It is useful to have a general understanding of employment law in Singapore.
The general law on employment in Singapore
The employment law in Singapore is governed by the Employment Act and common law.
The Employment Act
The Employment Act sets out a minimum standard of terms and conditions that an employer must observe when they hire employees who are covered under the Act.
If the Employment Act applies, then the employer cannot provide terms which are less favourable than those in the Act. If a clause in the employment contract is less favourable than that in the Act, then that clause will be rendered null and void and the relevant provisions in the Employment Act will be applied instead.
Does Employment Act Apply To You?
The relationship between employer and employee in Singapore is regulated largely by the employment contract.
In Singapore, parties are free to contract as they choose so long as they comply with the Employment Act. The Singapore Employment Act does not apply to all employees. Instead, it applies only to “employees” as defined under the Act. Specifically, the Employment Act does not apply to:
Managerial & Executive Positions
Domestic Workers, seamen, and Government Staff.
If you come within the Employment Act, and you earn less than $2,000 a month, you are given additional protection (concerning “Rest Day, Hours of Work and Overtime, Public Holidays, Annual Leave, Sick Leave, Retrenchment Benefits, Retirement Benefits, Annual Wage Supplement and other variable payment”) under Part IV of the Employment Act.
If you are an employee and you do not come within the Employment Act, your relationship with your employer is strictly governed by your employment contract.
By far the most common enquiry we are receiving in this COVID-19 period is the retrenchment rights and obligations of employer and employee.
If you are facing retrenchment or a loss of job, the company can ask you to leave by giving you notice or paying you in lieu of notice as per the employment contract. If you fall within the Singapore Employment Act, the following general rules apply for employee earning less than $2,000 a month:
The company shall pay all salaries and benefits due to the employees on their last day of work.
The duration of notice shall be as per the employment contract.
An employee who has been employed in a company for at least 3 years should be paid some retrenchment benefits. The Employment Act however does not state the nature or amount of such benefits and leaves it to the the employee and the employer to work it out. An employee who has worked less than 3 years in a company is not entitled to retrenchment benefits under the Employment Act.
ABOUT PKWA LAW
We provide comprehensive legal services with an emphasis on wrongful termination, employment law, constructive dismissal, restraint of trade clauses, withholding of salary, drafting of employment contracts and wrongful dismissal.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only, and to enable you to learn more about our firm, our services and our lawyers. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. Readers of this website should engage a lawyer to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.