SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Thursday (Jan 18) launched a month-long public consultation exercise to seek feedback on areas being considered in the review of the Employment Act.
Singapore's main employment law is regularly reviewed to "keep pace with the changing labour force profile and employment landscape", MOM said in a press release, adding that the Act was last reviewed in 2012 with amendments coming into effect in 2015.
Since then, the tripartite partners - MOM, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) - have had "further discussions" and identified broad areas for review to ensure the Act remains relevant while enhancing its coverage, the Manpower Ministry said.
One of the three key areas of the proposed review is whether to extend core provisions - such as public holiday and sick leave entitlements, payment of salary and allowable deductions and redress for wrongful dismissal - to all employees.
Curently, the core provisions cover all employees except domestic workers, public servants, seafarers and managers and executives earning more than S$4,500 a month. These employees are not covered the Employment Act and "already have access to many of these provisions", MOM said.
Another key area of the proposed review is additional protection for more vulnerable employees beyond the core provisions enjoyed by all employees covered under the Act.
Such additional protection relates to time-based provisions such as annual leave, hours of work, overtime pay and rest day. They cover rank-and-file employees in "white collar" occupations such as clerks and receptionists earning a monthly salary of up to S$2,500, as well as manual workers earning a monthly salary of up to S$4,500. MOM is inviting views on the appropriate level for these salary thresholds, it said.
The third key area relates to streamlining the dispute resolution process.
MOM explained that currently, statutory and contractual salary-related disputes are heard by the Employment Claims Tribunals, while wrongful dismissal claims are heard by the Manpower Ministry. Given that dismissal-related claims are usually coupled with salary issues, the affected employee has to go to two different parties for their issues to be resolved.
"MOM is reviewing this process to make it more streamlined for employees and employers, and would like to invite views on how we can do so," the ministry said.
Members of the public can access more details on the key areas of the proposed review on the REACH website and provide their feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading "Consultation on EA review". The public consultation exercise closes on Feb 15.