The Employment Act – Singapore’s main employment law – is benefiting from some changes that will come into effect on 1 April, 2019. Here’s what you need to know.
The Employment Act was last reviewed in 2012, and it was seen fit to reassess the Act given that: a) managers and executives make up more than half the local Singaporean workforce and this is set to increase to two-thirds by 2030, and b) to take into account the set-up of the Employment Claims Tribunals.
The Employment Act is reviewed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) together with their tripartite partners, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF).
Concluding her Speech at Second Reading of the Employment (Amendment) Bill, Minister for Manpower Mrs Josephine Teo said: “In conclusion, this Bill will better protect our workers, enhance our dispute resolution framework and provide employers enhanced flexibility. It will bolster our efforts to institute good employment norms and develop progressive workplaces for our people.”
You can read the full amendments in the official MOM press release, but we’ve summarise the key changes to the Employment Act that take effect on 1 April 2019 below.
- Core provisions will be extended so that all employees – managers, executives, workmen, and non-workmen – are covered.
- The salary threshold for non-workmen to qualify as Part IV employees will be raised from $2,500 to $2,600. The cap for overtime payable for non-workmen covered under Part IV will be changed accordingly.
- Wrongful dismissal claims will be heard by the Employment Claims Tribunals instead of the Minister for Manpower. This change is designed to provide employees with a “one-stop service” to resolve both salary-related and wrongful dismissal claims.
- Medical certificates from all registered doctors and dentists will be recognized for paid sick leave. This means employees will be able to see general practitioners (GPs) closer to their homes when ill rather than traveling to see an approved practitioner.
It’s important to note that the Bill will extend to all employees, except domestic workers, public officers and seafarers who will continue to be covered by other Acts and regulations.
We recommend you read the MOM’s guide: Changes to the Employment Act with effect from 1 April 2019: An implementation guide for employers and HR practitioners
You can also find more information at:
- Ministry of Manpower www.mom.gov.sg
- Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management www.tadm.sg
- Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices www.tafep.sg
- Singapore National Employers Federation (for SNEF members) www.snef.org.sg
- National Trades Union Congress (for employees) www.ntuc.org.sg
The first, and most important thing to do to stay compliant with any changes in employment laws is to use a fully-integrated workforce management system that is backed by a sophisticated payroll engine and compliance tools.