Friday, December 14, 2007

No More Apathy

It's really hard to push my brain off the couch sometimes and get all hyped up about anything in particular and this one issue has taken years for me to take any interest at all in.

But it's getting increasingly hard to ignore.

Why don't employees in Singapore have real rights? Everyone knows about the Employment Act of course, but have they looked closely at the definition of "employee"? It excludes individuals who are employed in a managerial, executive or confidential position. Does that pretty much exclude everyone in your office, except for the pantry lady? So yes, it's a nice piece of legislation, but does it apply to you? *evil laughter*

If it does not apply to you, then what employment laws apply to you? *evil laughter*

What is your assurance that if you do your job well, you can't be pushed out on the street tomorrow? What is your assurance that, once you announce to your employer that you just got pregnant, you can't be asked to leave? Are you just like everyone else - you think your job is now protected, and you can get your job back when you return? *evil laughter*

Are you just like everyone else who thinks that you are entitled to redundancy pay if you have worked with an employer for more than 3 years? You think that you are entitled to 1 month's salary for every year of employment? Entitled? *evil laughter*

The legislative reasoning is that more MNCs will set up shop in Singapore if we have employer-friendly laws. But here is a factoid for you. When MNCs send through questionnaires to law firms asking about employment and other laws in Singapore, nobody ever asks about redundancy pay.

And when they want to ask people to leave and instruct lawyers to assist, they all think they need to pay redundancy pay.

And when we tell them that they don't need to pay redundancy pay, they are not exactly jumping up and down with joy at the savings. Because what they thought they had to pay - that's not really very much money anyway. It's like when you clean out the back of your couch and find some change.

We are in Asia. Near Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand where employers get reamed when they terminate employment of employees. Everyone else has much more stringent employment laws that protect employees. We don't need to bend over backwards like this.

21 Comments:

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Mei Del said...

so how are managerial/executive "employees" classified? is there any case law on them? how extraordinary that sing law on this seems behind everyone else when it boasts itself to be advanced above its asian neighbours...

 
At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Managerial and executive employees do not have statutory rights relating to the terms of their employment, with the exception of CPF and maternity leave protections.

So there is no protection against retrenchment or redundancy nor is there any compensation for being made retrenched or redundant.

There is no obligation for the employer to help you find another job.

MNCs would still pay redundancy/ retrenchment and help with job placement on a voluntary basis because they find the concept of utterly nothing and no compensation repugnant to their HR policies worldwide.

Hurray for repugnancy!

The basis of the lack of protection is because Singapore wants to take the lead in terms of pro-employer laws. But my point is that it does not really serve anyone's interest for us to bend over so far backwards to the detriment of Singapore workers.

The people who need the most protection are the lower income executives, because they are truly in a bad bargaining position - there are so many job-seekers in the market, and nobody wants to negotiate themselves out of a job.

 
At 6:17 PM, Blogger mr.udders said...

Why don't you lead a campaign for this?

 
At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not believe that any campaign would work in this instance unless it is government sponsored.

For the rest of us, we need to remember that a nail that sticks up will be hammered down.

 
At 9:39 AM, Blogger PanzerGrenadier said...

There is no protection of workers' rights in Singapore period.

Get used to it because this is the type of government we elected who does it to our own citizens.

NSmen have it worst because your reservist liabilities make you less competitive than your fake talent counterpart.

I am glad I am rid of my NS obligations after completing my 2.5 years of full-time NS plus 10 years of reservist.

That is why I focus on financial security for myself and my family because there is NO JOB SECURITY in Singapore Inc.

 
At 9:42 AM, Blogger PanzerGrenadier said...

Just to add, it is the government we elected who enacted laws that result in the situation of total lack of worker protection.

If you believe that tripartism work, you are part of a dream weaved by our regime to lull you to think that your rights are protected.

We are definitely world-class when it comes to EMPLOYER protection.

 
At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tri-partite labour movement does nothing for the worker. We should rename the act to the Employer's Act.
Singaporeans have No Rights. Period.

 
At 6:06 PM, Anonymous Mei said...

it's stepford wives' country - singapore is...

 
At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think employees who earn > S$1500 per month are no longer protected by the employment act. Employment terms shall be strictly as per the employment contract that you sign with the company. So if certain specific terms are not spelt out in your employment letter, then it is likely that you will not have any legal recourse to such terms.

I suppose the Gahmen deliberately made the S$1500 monthly salary ceiling as a effective incentive to attract foreign MNCs to setup companies in Singapore.

Otherwise it just doesn't make sense to impose such a salary ceiling to limit the statutory employment rights to only the lower income salaried employees.

 
At 1:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually even if you earn less than S$1,600 per month, but you hold a managerial, executive or confidential position, you are not covered by the Employment Act.

 
At 9:10 AM, Blogger jupilier said...

What does being managerial include?
Does it include managing that everyone pays 20 cents to get into the toilet?

 
At 12:46 PM, Blogger Mr Wang Says So said...

Ah. I am reminded of this old post - an international study which shows that:

Singapore is the easiest place in the world to pay a worker peanuts; make him work overtime; and then sack him without compensation.

 
At 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop griping, doing something.

Emigrate, lah.

 
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