November 12, 2019

November 11, 2019

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Major Changes to Singapore’s Employment Act, Effective April 1, 2019

Major changes to Singapore’s Employment Act (“EA”) took effect on April 1, 2019. First, the EA was expanded to include more employees and offer greater protections. Before April 1, the EA’s core provisions excluded managers and executives earning more than S$4,500, and its Part IV provisions, which provide additional protection to select groups of workmen (i.e. manual laborers) and non-workmen (i.e. general white-collar employees, such as receptionists), excluded non-workmen earning more than S$2,500. Now, the EA’s core provisions apply to all employees (except for seafarers, domestic workers, and public servants who continue to be excluded), and the Part IV provisions were amended to cover non-workmen earning up to S$2,600, and increase the overtime rate payable cap to match the new threshold.

Second, wrongful dismissal claims previously were heard by the Ministry of Manpower, but now will be heard by the Employment Claims Tribunals (“ECT”). The ECT will hear these matters in addition to salary-based claims, thereby eliminating an employee’s need to navigate separate adjudicatory channels when bringing both types of claims against an employer. Additionally, the minimum service period managers and executives must complete before bringing a wrongful dismissal claim for a dismissal with notice, as applicable, was reduced from one year to six months.

Third, the EA now requires that employers accept all medical certificates issued by doctors and dentists registered under the Medical Registration Act and Dental Registration Act, respectively, when issuing reimbursements and granting paid sick leave. This is a significant change from the EA’s previous provision, which required acceptance of certificates from government and company-approved doctors and dentists only. Moreover, employers may, but are not required to, accept certificates from other types of health practitioners as well.

Fourth, employers now may make other deductions, in addition to those already authorized by law, upon the employee’s written consent, which the employee must be allowed to withdraw penalty-free at any time.

Employers who are affected by the amendments and have not made changes to their practices and policies in order to comply with the changes should do so immediately. For more information, the current version of the statute may be accessed here and a guide summarizing the changes, which was released by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices and the Ministry of Manpower, may be accessed here.

© 2019 Proskauer Rose LLP.

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Erika C Collins, Labor, Employment, Attorney, Proskauer Rose, LAw Firm
Partner

Erika Collins is a Partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the International Labor & Employment Law Group, resident in the New York office. Erika advises and counsels multinational public and private companies on a wide range of cross-border employment and human resources matters throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia.

212-969-3555
Daniel Ornstein, Litigation Attorney, Proskauer Law FIrm
Partner

Dan Ornstein leads our London labor and employment team and is a co-head of our International Labor & Employment Group. He has over 15 years of experience dealing with a broad range of UK and international employment issues. Dan is a go-to advisor for clients who rely on his sophisticated advice both on day-to-day matters and high-stakes situations. Dan is ranked in Chambers UK, which describes him as "incredibly analytical", "incredibly intelligent and an excellent sounding board” and someone who “displays both empathy and an assured knowledge of the best way to treat cases." He is also recognized in Legal 500 UK and International Who's Who of Management Labour & Employment Lawyers.

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Vanessa Avello, Proskauer Law Firm, Labor and Employment Law Attorney, Newark
Associate

Vanessa P. Avello is an associate in the Labor & Employment Department and assists clients in a broad range of labor and employment law matters.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Vanessa attended Rutgers School of Law where she served as a Senior Notes and Comments Editor of the Rutgers Law Review. Vanessa was also a Teaching Assistant for the Rutgers Legal Analysis, Writing and Research Skills program and she held a judicial internship for the Honorable Esther Salas of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. In addition,...

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