More workers to enjoy core employment provisions, protections with Employment Act changes

·Senior Reporter
Workers seen in Singapore’s Central Business District. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
Workers seen in Singapore’s Central Business District. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

More employees will enjoy core employment provisions and have additional protection, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say revealed in Parliament on Monday (5 February).

As part of changes to the Employment Act, the ministry will be removing the criterion that excludes professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) drawing a monthly salary of more than $4,500 from provisions such as public holiday and sick leave entitlements, timely payment of salary and allowable deductions, he said during the Committee of Supply debate on Budget 2018.

“Our workforce is changing fast, we now have more PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians), and fewer rank-and-files. This trend will continue…

“With PMETs making up 56 per cent of the local workforce now, going up to 65 per cent by around 2030, it is timely to make a more fundamental change to the coverage of EA,” said Lim.

With the removal of the cap, an additional 430,000 professionals, managers and executives (PME) will be able to enjoy the benefits, out of a total 720,000 PMEs in the workforce currently.

Meanwhile, the salary limit for non-workmen to enjoy additional protections in areas such as hours of work, overtime pay and rest days will be raised to $2,600 from $2,500. The term “non-workman” covers white-collar workers who are not in managerial or executive positions, such as clerks and receptionists.

Currently, the additional protections also apply to workmen who earn up to $4,500 per monthly. Workmen are those who perform manual labour for a living.

With the update, about half of Singapore’s total workforce – 1.6 million employees – will enjoy the benefits.

As part of the changes to the Employment Act, both salary-related disputes and wrongful dismissal claims will be heard under the Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT).

Currently, while salary issues are handled by the ECT, dismissal-related issues are handled by the Ministry of Manpower.

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