A Guide to the Singapore Employment Act

You should be informed of what your rights are as an employee in Singapore. If you find that you are not being treated fairly, you should consider hiring an employment lawyer Singapore to see what you can do about it. However, think twice before doing so as suing your employer could potentially damage your relationship with them.

Here are some frequently asked questions with regards to the Singapore Employment Act answered by professionals:

How Can an Employee be Unlawfully Terminated?

An employee is unlawfully terminated if he or she was terminated despite not having done anything that breached the rules and regulations of the company. 

An employee can resign from the job as long as he or she gives two weeks’ notice. During this time, the employer can plead with the employee to stay with the company and give a number of reasons for him or her to do so. However, the final decision lies with the employee as he or she may be resigning for reasons such as pursuing a new career path. Hence, it is unjust for the employer to refuse an employee’s resignation.

Furthermore, an employee cannot be terminated for petty reasons such as certain people in the company wanting the employee removed. That would be unfair especially if the person is doing his or her job in a diligent manner.

What is the Minimum Salary?

There is no such thing as a minimum salary as the salary depends on the negotiation between the employer and the employee. 

Most of the time, the employer would ask the employee what his or her asking salary is. After that, there would be a negotiation process until both parties can agree on a specific amount. 

Of course, the salary would mostly be based on the employee’s skill level and experience. The more experience the employee has, the bigger the amount he or she can demand. On the other hand, if the employee is just a fresh graduate, he or she would have to start small.

How Long is the Probation Period?

Before an employee becomes a regular in the company, there will be a probation period. The probation period is usually 3 months. 

During this time, the employer will evaluate the employee’s performance. When the employee becomes regular, he or she would usually experience a salary raise.

After the probation period, your employer will decide whether to extend the probation period, terminate your contract, or promote you to regular status.

Is Training Provided by the Employer?

The employer is not required to provide training to employees. There are some companies that choose to provide training for their new employees so that they will get familiar with the standard company rules and regulations. 

It is not a bad idea to have full-time trainers. In fact, the trainers would most likely discuss the scope of the job. This would help answer the questions of new employees since there would be a lot of things they would like to find out more about.

Some companies even give a training allowance to people whom they think deserve it. The allowance amount would usually cover food and transportation for that day.

How Long is the Maternity Leave?

Women who are expecting a baby soon can file for maternity leave, provided they have been employed in the company for at least three months. 

The maternity leave will last four months and during that time, the company cannot terminate the employee for any reason. 

The pregnant woman will most likely consult her doctor regarding when she should take her maternity leave. The doctor will advise her on the best time to take maternity leave based on when her baby will be born.

Do Employers Provide Health Insurance?

It depends on the budget of the company. Employers are not really required to give their employees health insurance. 

All Singapore residents are given health insurance called Medishield. Of course, a part of the employee’s salary goes to Medishield every month. 

The employer has the option of providing private healthcare insurance from numerous insurance companies in Singapore. You can be sure a lot of insurance agents will try their best to convince you to sign up with them. 

For those who work in rough environments, you should make sure your employer provides health insurance. Some examples of rough environments include construction sites and laboratories. There is a particularly large amount of dangerous equipment in those areas.

How Long is the Annual Vacation Leave?

Regular employees are allowed a minimum of one week paid vacation leave per year and that amount increases by a day for every year the person stays with the company. 

Companies usually give a two-week vacation leave to employees. The two weeks can be scattered throughout different times of the year. It is important to file the vacation leave several weeks in advance so that those working with you including your supervisor would be informed. 

Alerting other members of the team is important to ensure no two members from the same team end up filing for vacation leave at the same time. If that happens, the team would lose a few of its members for a few days. The reduced manpower could affect the productivity of the team negatively.

How many Rest Days are there Per Week?

It is imperative for employers to provide at least one rest day per week. Some companies give the entire weekend off depending on the nature of the business. 

The usual working hours for Singaporeans are from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. There are some employers who also require their employees to come to work on a Saturday. Sundays are usually spent with the family. 

However, there are some Singaporeans who need to do a lot of things in their work so they tend to work at least 10 hours during the weekdays and half days on Saturdays.