Employment Regulation Information 2020 – Employment and HR


Labor law guide 2020

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An overview

The relationship between employer and employee is largely regulated by the employment contract between them. Under Singapore law, the parties are generally free to enter into contracts at their own discretion and any matter arising between them would have to be resolved on the basis of either the express and / or implied terms of the relevant contract. However, the law limits this freedom of contract to some extent.

The sources of these limit values ​​include customary law and laws such as the Labor Law (Chapter 91) (“SHE“), first adopted in 1968, with the most recent amendments coming into force on April 1, 2019. The EA sets a minimum standard for the main / basic terms of a particular employment contract. Hence the terms of an employee’s employment contract must be at least equal or more favorable than the provisions in the EA. Any less favorable term becomes illegal, null and void if it is less favorable.

Further relevant labor law laws are the law on safety and health protection at work (Chapter 354A) (“WSHA“); the Child Development Co-Savings Act (Chapter 38A) (“CDCSA“); the law on retirement and re-employment (chap. 274A) (“RRA“); the Trade Union Act (Chapter 333); the Labor Relations Act (Chapter 136) (“IRA“); and the Income Tax Act (chap. 134). In addition, employers should consider the Central Provident Fund Act (chap. 36) and their monthly obligations to the Central Provident Fund (“.CPF“) as well as the law on the employment of foreign workers (Chapter 91A) (“EFMA“), which regulates the conditions for the employment of foreign workers and is particularly relevant for foreign workers who are not protected by the EA (e.g. foreign domestic workers).

The last round of amendments to the labor law framework was passed by Parliament on November 20, 2018 with amendments to the EA and the Employment Claims Act ((No. 21 of 2016)) (“ECA“). The amendments to these laws came into force on April 1, 2019 and cover four key areas: (i) Extension of the core provisions of the EA to protect all workers; (ii) Extension of Part IV of the EA to protect additional workers workers, ( iii) improving the framework for industrial dispute settlement; and (iv) improving flexibility for employers.

Please note that the following guide is a summary for general informational purposes in order to improve your understanding of Singapore labor law at the time of writing. It is not exhaustive or comprehensive and reading this memorandum is not a substitute for reading the text of the various statutes to fully understand the scope of the obligations owed. Nor should this guide be used as legal advice.

Table of Contents

This update is provided for your general information and should not be relied on as legal advice.

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