The Singapore Employment Act is a crucial piece of legislation that governs the employment relationship between employers and employees in Singapore.
It sets out the basic terms and conditions of employment, such as minimum salary requirements, working hours and overtime payment, notice periods for termination, and leave entitlements.
The Act aims to protect employees’ rights and ensure that they are treated fairly, while also providing employers with a clear framework for managing their workforce.
UNDERSTANDING THE SINGAPORE EMPLOYMENT ACT
Coverage of the Act
It applies to full-time, part-time, and contract employees, regardless of whether they are Singaporean or foreign nationals. However, there are some exemptions to the Act. Managers and executives who earn a basic salary of more than SGD 4,500 per month are exempt from certain provisions such as hours of work and overtime pay.
Professionals, such as lawyers and doctors, are also excluded from the salary and hours of work provisions of the Act. The Act does not apply to domestic workers or seafarers as they are covered by separate legislation. Additionally, some categories of employees have different entitlements under the Act.
For example, workmen who earn up to SGD 4,500 per month are entitled to certain benefits such as annual leave and sick leave, while non-workmen who earn up to SGD 2,600 per month are entitled to some, but not all, of these benefits. Employers need to understand the coverage of the Employment Act to ensure that they comply with the relevant provisions and provide their employees with their legal entitlements.
Employment contracts are a critical component of the employment relationship, as they establish the terms and conditions of employment between employers and employees. Under the Singapore Employment Act, every employee must be provided with a written employment contract within 14 days of starting work. The contract should include key details such as the employee’s job title, salary, working hours, leave entitlements, and notice period for termination.
Employers must ensure that the contract complies with the provisions of the Employment Act and any other relevant legislation. Any employment terms and conditions changes must be agreed upon by both parties and documented in writing.
A well-drafted employment contract can help to prevent misunderstandings and disputes between employers and employees. It can also help to ensure that employees are aware of their rights and obligations under the Employment Act.
Payment of salaries and benefits
Under the Singapore Employment Act, employers must comply with minimum salary requirements and other regulations related to the payment of salaries and benefits to their employees. The Act outlines the types of salary deductions that employers can make, such as for taxes and insurance, and requires employers to provide paid leave for public holidays, annual leave, sick leave, and maternity and paternity leave.
The Act also mandates payment of overtime for work beyond normal working hours. The minimum salary requirements for employees vary depending on their job type and experience level, and employers are required to pay employees at least the minimum salary prescribed by law.
Any changes to salary and benefits must be agreed upon by both parties and documented in writing. Failure to comply with the Act can result in penalties, such as fines or legal action. Overall, the Act aims to ensure that employees in Singapore are treated fairly and that their rights are protected, while also providing employers with a clear framework for managing their workforce.
Working hours, overtime, and rest days
Employers in Singapore are required to ensure that their employees work no more than 44 hours per week, with a maximum of 8 hours per day. Any work beyond these hours is considered overtime, and employers must pay employees at least 1.5 times their hourly rate for overtime work. Employees are also entitled to at least one rest day per week, which can be taken on any day of the week as agreed between the employer and employee.
Termination of employment
Under the Singapore Employment Act, employers are required to have valid grounds for terminating an employee’s contract. These grounds include poor performance, misconduct, or redundancy. Employers must provide the employee with notice of termination, which varies depending on the length of service and the terms of the employment contract. The minimum notice period for termination ranges from one day to four weeks, depending on the size of the service. However, employers may terminate an employee’s contract without notice in cases of serious misconduct.
Employees who feel that they have been unfairly dismissed can file a claim with the Ministry of Manpower. The Ministry will investigate the claim and may order the employer to reinstate the employee or provide compensation if it finds that the termination was unfair.
Employers need to follow the correct procedures when terminating an employee’s contract to avoid legal disputes and potential penalties. By doing so, employers can maintain good relationships with their employees and ensure compliance with the Employment Act.
Retirement and re-employment
Under the Act, employers in Singapore cannot compel employees to retire before the age of 62, unless they are employed in certain specified positions. After the age of 62, employers must offer their employees the option of re-employment, provided that they are medically fit and able to perform their job duties.
The Act also provides for additional benefits, such as the Retirement and Re-employment Act, which provides financial support for older workers who are unable to continue working.
The Singapore Employment Act includes several other provisions that regulate various aspects of the employment relationship.
- It prohibits the employment of children under the age of 13 and sets out specific restrictions on the types of work that children under the age of 16 can perform.
- The Act also provides for maternity and paternity leave entitlements, which vary depending on the length of service and the terms of the employment contract.
- Female employees are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave, while male employees are entitled to two weeks of paternity leave.
- The Act also provides for the resolution of employment disputes through mediation and arbitration, as well as through the civil courts. This helps to ensure that employees have a mechanism for resolving disputes with their employers fairly and efficiently.
Singapore Employment Act is a crucial piece of legislation that governs the employment relationship between employers and employees in Singapore. Employers in Singapore should ensure that they comply with the requirements of the Act to avoid potential legal disputes and to maintain a positive and productive workplace culture.