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NTUC wants to provide more support for PMEs amid economic slowdown

There is a need to ensure professionals, managers and executives have assistance should they lose their jobs, especially those in sectors like oil and gas, says NTUC's assistant secretary-general, Patrick Tay.  

SINGAPORE: The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) wants to provide increased support for professionals, managers and executives (PMEs), who are more likely to be affected by the current economic slowdown, said NTUC's assistant secretary-general, Patrick Tay.

Speaking on the sidelines of an HR industry event on Wednesday (Feb 24) that was co-organised by the Singapore Human Resources Institute and Willis Towers Watson, Mr Tay said it is important to ensure PMEs can get help if they lose their jobs.

He said: "We have been seeing a couple of layoffs in the past months. We've also noticed that the ... layoffs are affecting PMEs more this time around and therefore there is a need to ensure they are assisted and supported."

According to Mr Tay, PMEs are more vulnerable to layoffs, as many work in sectors, such as financial services and oil & gas, that are not doing as well.

The total number of PMEs in the workforce has also increased in recent years, by almost 100,000 to 738,000 resident PMEs from 2014 to 2015.

Mr Tay added that while more PMEs are represented by unions, many work in non-unionised companies.

"There are no fixed benchmarks in terms of notice periods, in terms of quantum of retrenchment benefits as well as good practices in carrying out labour layoffs," he said. "My call out is that tripartite partners have to work concertedly together to ensure that in terms of HR, business owners (are professional) in carrying out layoffs and comply with good industrial relations practices. "

Mr Tay said he expects two key initiatives - the Employment Claims Tribunal and the Tripartite Mediation Framework - to be rolled out in the second half of this year, giving more protection to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).