The Tripartite Guidelines on Managing Excess Manpower ("Guidelines") first issued in November 2008, were recently revised on 17 May 2009.

The Guidelines encourage employers to undertake employment cost-cutting measures as an alternative to retrenchment, including redeploying workers to other work in the organisation, shorter working week, temporary lay-off, flexible work schedules, part-time work, flexible wage system and unpaid leave.

Where retrenchment is inevitable, employers are urged to notify the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on the decision to retrench, to enable the MOM to help the employer to manage any labour issues arising from the retrenchment exercise, and help affected workers find alternative employment and/or to provide them with relevant training for enhanced employability. Employers are also encouraged to provide retrenchment benefits in the range of two weeks to one month salary per year of service.