Better Protection Under Amendments To Employment Act in Singapore
The Employment Act in Singapore will soon be amended to remove the S$4,500 salary cap providing protection to about 430,000 more professionals, managers and executives (PMEs). Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said the only exceptions are public servants, domestic workers and seafarers who are covered separately, such as by other Acts due to their nature of work. “Following the amendments, these PMEs will enjoy core employee benefits under the Act which include redress for wrongful dismissal, public holiday and sick leave entitlements, timely payment of salary and allowable deductions,” he said.
Currently, only Singaporeans earning under S$4,500 come under the Act’s core provisions. The removal of the salary cap and other amendments to Singapore’s main labour law will be introduced in Parliament later this year for implementation by April 2019. “We have a rapidly changing workforce in our country. There are now more PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians), and fewer rank-and-files. We expect this trend to continue and with PMETs making up 56 per cent of the local workforce now, going up to 65 per cent by around 2030, it is timely to make a more fundamental change to the coverage of EA,” said Lim.
Changes on Salary Cap
He said the government had introduced the changes following a month-long public consultation earlier in January. More non-workmen employees will see stronger protection of their rights with the changes to the salary cap. Currently, additional protection that covers hours or work, overtime pay and rest days are accorded only to workmen earning up to S$4,500 and non-workmen earning up to S$2,500. The salary cap for non-workmen, who are typically white-collar rank-and-file workers such as clerks, will go up from S$2,500 to S$2,600. The enhancement will cover half of the workforce. In terms of overtime pay, the salary cap for non-workmen will also be revised upwards from S$2,250 to S$2,600. About 100,000 non-workmen will benefit from this increase.
Also, any problems between employees and employers will be easier to resolve, while the Employment Claims Tribunal will start hearing claims related to wrongful dismissal. Prior to this, such cases were heard by the Minister for Manpower. This will be on top of salary-related disputes that are currently heard by the tribunal if unresolved by mediation by the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management.