Following extensive consultation and vigorous Parliamentary debate, the Employment Act (EA) (which is the key legislation governing employment matters in Singapore), was amended to improve the statutory protections being afforded to employees, and to streamline the dispute resolution process for employee-related claims. These amendments will take effect from 1 April 2019.

The three key amendments are as follows:

Extension of core provisions to cover all employees

The salary cap of $4,500 per month for managers and executives will no longer apply for the core provisions. This means that all employees have statutory protections (like the minimum holiday entitlement, paid public holiday, sick leave, timely payment of salary and statutory protection against wrongful dismissal).

Managers and executives must be employed for at least six months before they can claim statutory protection against wrongful dismissal (down previously from twelve months and only in respect of managers and executive earning up to $4,500 per month).

Extension of protections for vulnerable employees

Part IV protections (regarding hours of work, overtime pay and rest days) have been extended to include non-workmen (ie whitecollar workers who are not in managerial or executive positions, such as clerks and receptionists, earning up to $2,600 per month). The cap for the monthly basic salary used to calculate the hourly rate of overtime work has also been raised from $2,250 to $2,600 per month.

Enhancement of the employment dispute resolution framework

Previously, employees had to submit wrongful dismissal claims to the Ministry of Manpower and salary-related claims with the Employment Claims Tribunal. This has been changed to provide a one-stop-shop for the resolution of all employment-related disputes with the Employment Claims Tribunal.