Responsible Retrenchment is Key to Providing Mental Support to the Chosen Ones
Ever since the world caught the pandemic Covid19, all sorts of businesses are affected. Although some company may be at the end of a supply chain, just a fall in demand at any tier of the chain can have high consequences. Thus, most economies are rolling out financial schemes to help businesses stay afloat. Singapore is no less different. The most recent scenario is that some companies are falling back on sustainability despite taking up financial schemes from the government. Hence, the tripartite partners are advising for responsible retrenchment for businesses if the worse comes to worst.
The tripartite partners, which consists of National Trades Union Congress, Ministry Of Manpower and Singapore National Employers Federation have been monitoring the general situation of businesses ever since March 2020 when the first wave hit. Even after the government rolls out several rounds of financial aids for firms, the tripartite partners were aware of the inevitable consequences of lack of business activity. Eventually, the struggling businesses will have to close shop and put employees out of jobs. When unemployment hits record high, there is likely an adverse reaction which may cause a chain of unwanted events.
The Tripartite Advisory
To date, the tripartite partners have jointly updated the advisory on managing an excess workforce and responsible retrenchment. The advisory will serve employers as a better guide to conduct responsible retrenchment. Employers that may need to carry out retrenchments should provide more extended notice period beyond statutory requirements, whenever possible so affected employees can mentally prepare themselves. Employers should also give the affected employee time and space to the bad news before needing them to vacate their workstations. The advisory also prepares managers to notify retrenchment to employees most professionally and privately as they can. A sensitive issue such as this must have an open communication channel for affected employees to address queries. Retrenched employees will need plenty of support; thus, employers should at least be sensitive to their emotional needs.
Wherever possible, employers can help provide training assistance to affected employers, post-retrenchment. At best, retrenched individuals could pick up a new skill or improve further for the better and look for jobs elsewhere. Otherwise, they could offer their skills as a service in the gig economy. Businesses which were affected earlier in these trying times may have a pick-up in business activities. These businesses are advised to hire locals when they can. Thus, these are among key outcomes of advising for responsible retrenchment.
Maintain Singaporean Core
Businesses in Singapore may have employees of non-residents which is typical. If the company needs to downsize, the advisory advises companies to retain or maintain a strong Singaporean core. This means employers will need to use objective criteria in selecting employees for retrenchment. Businesses with a strong Singaporean core would mean that most of its employees are Singaporeans.