On 13 July 2015, Parliament introduced a Bill to amend the Employment Act principally to require employers to make and keep employee records, and provide employees with a written record of key employment terms (“KET”) and pay slips. An employer who makes/keeps/provides incomplete or inaccurate employee records, records of KET or pay slips will be in breach of his obligations even if he did not know that the relevant document is incomplete or inaccurate.
New provisions will also be introduced to provide for a new regime on administrative penalties.
An employer will be required under the re-enacted section 95 of the Employment Act to make and keep employee records for the prescribed record retention period containing prescribed particulars of every employee the employer employs as well as former employees. The employee records must be complete and accurate and made readily accessible to the relevant employee or former employee during the record retention period. An employer who keeps incomplete or inaccurate records will be in breach of section 95 even if he did not know that the record is incomplete or inaccurate.
This requirement will replace the current requirement for employers to make and keep a register of employees as well as the requirement for employers to keep a record of workmen.
Providing employees with written records of KET
A new requirement in the Employment Act will be for employers to give each employee a complete and accurate written record of the KET of the employee not later than 14 days after he or she starts employment with the employer, or within such other prescribed period. The KET to be recorded arethe terms of employment contained in a contract of service between an employer and the employee that is prescribed to be a key employment term. This requirement will be found in the new section 95A.
This requirement only applies in relation to employees who are employed after new section 95A comes into force and who is employed with the employer for at least the prescribed minimum period of service.
To comply with section 95A, an employer may choose to provide the written record of KET in the following ways:
- Provide an electronic record containing the KET in a manner that enables the information contained in the electronic record to be accessible and useable by the employee for subsequent reference; or
- Publish the KET on an Internet website which is authorised by the employer and readily accessible to the employee, and disseminating the address of the website to the employee.
An employer who provides incomplete or inaccurate records of KET will be in breach of section 95A even if he did not know that the record is incomplete or inaccurate.
Providing employees with pay slips
An employer will be imposed with a new requirement to provide every employee with a complete and accurate pay slip within the prescribed timeframes for salary paid by the employer for the period to which the pay slip relates. The employer must also provide an employee with a pay slip in respect of payments for dismissal and termination of employment.
The pay slip must take the prescribed form and contain the prescribed information. Such pay slips may be provided in electronic form provided the information in the electronic form is accessible and useable by the employee for subsequent reference.
Guidelines on KETs and pay slips
By way of background, to prepare businesses to progressively change their HR practices before they are required by law to issue KETs in writing and pay slips, the MOM had issued relevant guidelines in 2014:
- Tripartite Guidelines on Issuance of Key Employment Terms in Writing (issued on 16 December 2014)
- Tripartite Guidelines on Issuance of Itemised Payslips (issued on 13 January 2014)
New provisions will be introduced in the Employment Act to provide for a new regime on administrative penalties for civil contraventions of the Act, namely:
- a failure by an employer to meet its obligations to keep employee records or provide its employees with a written record of KET or pay slips;
- provision by an employer of inaccurate information or particulars under the Act, inadvertently or without intent to mislead or defraud.
The Employment (Amendment) Bill 2015 is available from the Singapore Statutes Online website at www.statutes.agc.gov.sg
An article about the Tripartite Guidelines on Issuance of Key Employment Terms in Writing was featured in a previous issue of the Allen & Gledhill Legal Bulletin (December 2014). To read the article entitled “Tripartite guidelines on issuance of written key employment terms released”, please click here.