The Employment, Parental Leave and Other Measures Bill 2013 (the “Bill”) was passed in Parliament on 12 November 2013, but it is not yet in force.

Pursuant to the Bill, the Employment Act (the “EA”) will be amended in view of the growing proportion of professionals, managers and executives (“PMEs”), rising salary levels, and evolving employment norms and practices. The Child Development Co-Savings Act (the “CDCA”) will be amended to refine the benefits for employees and self-employed persons in relation to maternity, adoption, childcare, extended childcare, shared parental and paternity leave.

Key amendments to the EA

  • Higher salary threshold for non-workmen: The salary threshold of non-workmen who may benefit from the protection of Part IV of the EA (relating to, among others, work hours, rest days and annual leave) will be raised from S$2,000 to S$2,500 in line with the general increase in salary levels.
  • More protection for PMEs: In addition to salary protection currently enjoyed, PMEs earning a monthly salary of up to S$4,500 will also be protected under the general provisions of the EA including protection against wrongful dismissal and providing for sick leave benefits.
  • Sub-cap on deductions: A 25% sub-cap for deductions for accommodation, amenities and services within the existing 50% limitation for all authorised deductions will be introduced to prevent excessive deductions to employee salaries.
  • Shorter non-eligibility period for retrenchment benefits: The minimum service period during which an employee is not eligible for retrenchment benefits will be reduced from three to two years.
  • Cap on salary threshold for overtime pay: The overtime rate payable for non-workmen will be capped at the salary level of S$2,250 despite their salary threshold being increased to S$2,500.
  • PME eligibility for redress against wrongful dismissal: PMEs will need to work with the same employer for at least one year to be eligible to seek redress against wrongful dismissal.
  • Time-off in-lieu for PMEs: Subject to mutual agreement, employers will be allowed to grant time-off for PMEs if they are required to work on a public holiday, in lieu of a day off in substitution for that holiday or an extra day’s salary. In the absence of mutual agreement, employers will have to grant four hours off or a day off in lieu on a working day if the employee worked on that holiday for a period not exceeding four hours or more than four hours respectively.
  • Cosmetic consultations and procedures: Employers will not be obliged to grant paid sick leave and bear medical examination expenses of employees for consultations and procedures which are for cosmetic purposes.
  • Higher penalty for failure to pay salary: The penalty for failure to pay salary in accordance with the EA will be raised.
  • Composition fine: The maximum composition fine under the EA will be increased from S$1,000 to S$5,000.
  • Enhanced powers of employment inspectors: Employment inspectors will be granted the power to arrest persons who are reasonably believed to be guilty of the failure to pay salary. They will also be allowed to enter any place of employment to conduct audits.

Key amendments to the CDCA

The CDCA will be amended for various purposes including the following:

Provide new formulae to compute the minimum number of days of maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave an employee is entitled to, if there is mutual agreement for the leave to be taken flexibly by days instead of by block week. This will provide greater certainty for both employers and employees. The EA will also be amended accordingly; and

Accurately reflect the policy that parents’ total child care and extended child care leave is based on the youngest qualifying Singapore Citizen (“SC”) child under the CDCA. This is to avoid situations where parents who have both an older SC child and a younger non-citizen child double claim leave under both the EA and the CDCA.

Reference materials

Please click on the links below for the materials relating to this development.

An article about the Bill when it was introduced in Parliament was featured in a previous issue of our Legal Bulletin (October 2013). To read the article entitled “Employment, Parental Leave and Other Measures Bill 2013 introduced in Parliament: Enhancing employment protection for workers”, please click here.