Legislative Update: new Tripartite Standard on Employment of Term Contract Employees

On 31 July 2017, the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trades Union Congress, and the Singapore National Employers Federation jointly released the new Tripartite Standard on Employment of Term Contract Employees (the “Standard“). The new Standard is not mandatory, but employers who adopt the Standards can distinguish themselves terms of human resource and employment practices, enhancing their attractiveness as employers and staff retention.

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Legislative Update: Paternity Leave, Child Developments Co-Savings, Unwed Mothers

Paternity Leave

Under the Child Development Co-savings (Amendment) Bill 2016, employers and self-employed individuals, who voluntarily exercise the option to grant to employees or take a second week of paternity leave respectively, will be reimbursed by the Government for this additional week of leave granted or taken.

The second week of paternity leave may be taken on or after 24 Aug 2015, and applies to:

i. children born on or after 1 Jan 2015;
ii. children born before 1 Jan 2015, but whose estimated delivery date (EDD) was on or after 1 Jan 2015;
iii. adopted children where the application to adopt is on or after 1 Jan 2015 (for child who is a Singapore citizen); or,
iv. adopted children whose dependant’s pass is issued on or after 1 Jan 2015 (for a child who is not a Singapore citizen).

It allows employers and self-employed to seek reimbursement from 1 Jul 2016.

It will also be mandatory for employers to provide two weeks of paternity leave to fathers of citizen children born from 1 January 2017 onwards. Amendments to the relevant statutes will follow.

CDA for Unwed Parents

Children of unwed parents would be eligible for Child Development Account (CDA) benefits, including the $3,000 CDA First Step grant. This applies to eligible children born from September 2016 onwards.

MOM calls for public feedback on Employment Claims Tribunal

MOM calls for public feedback on Employment Claims Tribunal

The current Labour Court under the Employment Act only covers workers who earn less than $4,500 per month regarding their salary disputes. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is considering establishing the ECT to expand this scope to include all employees (except public servants, domestic workers and seafarers for the time being). The detailed proposal can be found here. The public has until 23 March 2016 to give feedback.

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Article: Employment contracts penalty clauses

At BCS legal clinic yesterday, 2 separate foreign applicants came distressed, seeking legal advice on how they can quit their job. They were overworked and exploited. They had thought that if they quit their job, they’d have to pay a hefty sum of money for terminating their employment contract or agreement before a purported “bond” period. When they left the legal clinic, they were uplifted and relieved because they found out from us that they could leave their unhealthy jobs without penal consequences.

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Case Update: Daniel John Brader and others v Commerzbank AG [2013] SGHC 284 – collateral contract, discretionary bonus, employment

Daniel John Brader and others v Commerzbank AG [2013] SGHC 284

Significance: an announcement made to employees at a Townhall meeting regarding bonus payments was held to be a sufficiently certain binding unilateral contract collateral to their employment contracts.

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Case Update: Piattchanine, Iouri v Phosagro Asia Pte Ltd [2015] SGHC 259 – new grounds for terminating employment contract post-termination; breaches of implied contractual duties of employee

Piattchanine, Iouri v Phosagro Asia Pte Ltd [2015] SGHC 259

Significance: when it is permissible to raise new grounds for terminating employment contract post-termination; breaches of implied contractual duties of employee.

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Work Injury Compensation Act compensation limits increase Jan 2016

Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) compensation limits 

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) recently announced on 5 October 2015[1] that from 1 January 2016, the maximum and minimum WICA compensation limits for death, permanent incapacity and medical expenses will be increased as follows:

Existing Limit New Limit
Death Minimum $57,000 $69,000
  Maximum $170,000 $204,000
Permanent incapacity Minimum $73,000 $88,000
  Maximum $218,000 $262,000
Medical expenses Up to $30,000 or 1 year from date of injury, whichever reached earlier Up to $36,000 or 1 year from date of injury, whichever reached earlier

Additionally, treatments that facilitate early return to work will be claimable as part of WICA medical expenses. This would cover charges for physiotherapy and occupational and speech therapy, case management, psychotherapy, functional capacity evaluation and worksite assessment for purposes of rehabilitating an injured employee back to work, and the cost of medicines and artificial limbs and surgical appliances.

[1] See Work Injury Compensation Act (Amendment of Third Schedule) Order 2015; Third Schedule of the Work Injury Compensation Act.