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Terminating Contract

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AJAJ
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Terminating Contract

Postby AJAJ » Sat, 08 Feb 2014 3:20 am

Hi.

I am a foreigner on Employment Pass. I have been working in my current company for 1 year plus.
The contract between my employer and I is for 2 years (which about 8-9 more months is left till the contract ends).
My wife is Singaporean and working in the family business. We have decided that I switch my job and work in the family business as well to keep the business alive as my father in law is no longer able to handle the business.

I know that I can apply for a new EP under the family business and once the "In principal Approval Letter" is ready, I can give notice to my current employer.

But my concern here is that in my contract with my current company, it mentions the below clauses under "Termination of Employment":
1. Termination of employment will be two month's notice with no offset for the outstanding annual leave on either side or payment of equivalent in salary in lieu of notice without giving any reason.
2. This clause shall take effect after the completion of 24 months service as per agreed during interview.


What happens if I resign earlier than my contract end date?
Under my contract it does not mention anything about me paying the company if I resign earlier than my 24 months contract. So this means I can give two months notice and leave after that and my employer will cancel my EP within 7 days after my last day?

Thank you.

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Postby Beeroclock » Sat, 08 Feb 2014 7:40 am

Looks like a fixed term contract with no early termination, so technically you would be in breach, but there's no penalty specified for this. In the circumstances and assuming your family biz is non-competing, most employers should accept a two months notice I reckon. I would have a chat with them and see how they respond.

For the context, did you specifically push for 2 years fixed for security of tenure or as an basis to leave your previous job and take this contract? Or was this at their preference?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 08 Feb 2014 8:19 am

It sounds to me like the employer has been burnt before by FTs who come here and take a contract that isn't ideal but do so to "get a foot in the door" and as soon as they find something more attractive they quit. Once an employer has invested the time and training for that employee, they would at least like to see their investment recouped, hence the fixed term contract for the initial period. I reckon the employer will not be quite so willing to cooperate after only 15 months of employment. In fact, it's actions like this that causes some employers to try to blacklist these types of EP holders. I wish him luck. I think he's going to need it.

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Postby AJAJ » Sat, 08 Feb 2014 12:21 pm

Beeroclock wrote:Looks like a fixed term contract with no early termination, so technically you would be in breach, but there's no penalty specified for this. In the circumstances and assuming your family biz is non-competing, most employers should accept a two months notice I reckon. I would have a chat with them and see how they respond.

For the context, did you specifically push for 2 years fixed for security of tenure or as an basis to leave your previous job and take this contract? Or was this at their preference?



Hi, thank for your reply.
They specifically specified the 24 months contract. This is even applicable to their local staff.
For some staff there are penalty fees involved if they breach the contract early. But for mine it was not mentioned.
For me, I am happy to stay on the job but my wife needs my help on the family business.
So any good suggestions?
Thanks.

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Postby AngMoG » Sat, 08 Feb 2014 12:37 pm

AJAJ wrote:
Beeroclock wrote:Looks like a fixed term contract with no early termination, so technically you would be in breach, but there's no penalty specified for this. In the circumstances and assuming your family biz is non-competing, most employers should accept a two months notice I reckon. I would have a chat with them and see how they respond.

For the context, did you specifically push for 2 years fixed for security of tenure or as an basis to leave your previous job and take this contract? Or was this at their preference?



Hi, thank for your reply.
They specifically specified the 24 months contract. This is even applicable to their local staff.
For some staff there are penalty fees involved if they breach the contract early. But for mine it was not mentioned.
For me, I am happy to stay on the job but my wife needs my help on the family business.
So any good suggestions?
Thanks.


AJAJ,

Be sure to also check company (HR) guidelines, employee handbook, and the like, for penalties. Though it is debatable whether these would apply regarding notice period and penalties if you did not see them when you signed the contract.

However, legally speaking, if there is no specific mention of you having to serve the entire 24 month tenure before being able to resign, standard employment practices would come into effect. Most likely, that would mean a one month notice period.

It may be a good idea to consult with a lawyer on this; how this contract is interpreted depends a lot more on precedence cases rather than actual law.

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Postby Wd40 » Sat, 08 Feb 2014 4:05 pm

I think you should be able to amicably sort it out with your employer with 2 months notice. From my experience, no employer wants to keep disgruntled employees who dont want to work anymore. They have more to lose than to gain during that period. You could possibly corrupt other employees minds or work with utter negligence. If the employer is not an idiot they will relieve you with a reasonable notice period.

I have got myself relieved in a single day, in my previous company, even though my notice period is 1 month. I wasnt working on any project and there was no handover to be given so there was no reason for them to hold me for one month. I told them exactly that and even though initially they were hesitant to let me go, finally they made the more sensible decision. :)

There was another incident in the same company(This is bit off topic, just for fun). One of my colleague resigned just 1 month after joining the company and gave 1 months notice, as per the contract and on the day he resigned, our MD called him for a chat and asked him, why he wanted to resign. My colleague, very candidly, said everything negative about the company that the MD got mad, she told him "If you hate this company so much, why do you want to wait here until next month, you can leave next week" :lol: Luckily for him the next company let him join earlier.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 08 Feb 2014 4:49 pm

AngMoG wrote:
AJAJ wrote:
Beeroclock wrote:Looks like a fixed term contract with no early termination, so technically you would be in breach, but there's no penalty specified for this. In the circumstances and assuming your family biz is non-competing, most employers should accept a two months notice I reckon. I would have a chat with them and see how they respond.

For the context, did you specifically push for 2 years fixed for security of tenure or as an basis to leave your previous job and take this contract? Or was this at their preference?



Hi, thank for your reply.
They specifically specified the 24 months contract. This is even applicable to their local staff.
For some staff there are penalty fees involved if they breach the contract early. But for mine it was not mentioned.
For me, I am happy to stay on the job but my wife needs my help on the family business.
So any good suggestions?
Thanks.


AJAJ,

Be sure to also check company (HR) guidelines, employee handbook, and the like, for penalties. Though it is debatable whether these would apply regarding notice period and penalties if you did not see them when you signed the contract.

However, legally speaking, if there is no specific mention of you having to serve the entire 24 month tenure before being able to resign, standard employment practices would come into effect. Most likely, that would mean a one month notice period.

It may be a good idea to consult with a lawyer on this; how this contract is interpreted depends a lot more on precedence cases rather than actual law.


Sadly, Standard Employment Practices do not exist in Singapore for EP holders. The Employment act would only cover local employees and WP and possibly S pass holders. All EPs will be starting above the maximum salary covered under The Employment Act. If they are spiteful they can put him on garden leave so that he cannot work for anybody else and also keep him from being able to possibly make off with proprietary information. Or they may want him to reimburse the company for the amount of salary in lieu of not finishing the fixed term contract (high probability for that). Precedence cases in Singapore are few and far between, even non-compete clauses are rarely enforceable in Singapore due to the stupid limitations that companies try to put on the clause (things like "no employer within a 5K radius of Singapore for a period of 2 years") But there have been several that have been held up in court but nothing has been consistent that I've found. People must remember that Singapore is pro business and not pro employee. The terms of you contract can be changed verbally and it will stand up in court in certain instances, whether you agree with it or not.

Good luck, but please, know when to quit while you are ahead or at least not too far behind, as in the end you will be the ultimate loser sooner or later.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 08 Feb 2014 4:53 pm

On a fixed term contract, if you breach it, you are liable for the balance of the contract. That's why it's fixed. It has already been noted, that, AFTER the 24 months fixed term contract, if you want to resign it will then be 2 months notice required. It's just like a two year rental contract without a dip clause. You want to break it, you are liable for the balance of the contract whether you stay there or not. Of course, a good LL will usually cut you some slack, but it would depend on what kind of tenant you had been up till that point. I reckon the courts would look at it the same way.

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 08 Feb 2014 9:08 pm

AJAJ, this family business... what makes you sufficiently confident you will get the EP? Is there any current or potential conflict of interests between the two companies? I'm asking this because normally EPs are granted for rather specific areas (accountancy and such / IT probably among few exceptions). I hope you realize you can not just switch to a new job (area) starting with zero experience and get an EP.

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Postby AJAJ » Mon, 10 Feb 2014 8:00 am

AngMoG wrote:
AJAJ wrote:
Beeroclock wrote:Looks like a fixed term contract with no early termination, so technically you would be in breach, but there's no penalty specified for this. In the circumstances and assuming your family biz is non-competing, most employers should accept a two months notice I reckon. I would have a chat with them and see how they respond.

For the context, did you specifically push for 2 years fixed for security of tenure or as an basis to leave your previous job and take this contract? Or was this at their preference?



Hi, thank for your reply.
They specifically specified the 24 months contract. This is even applicable to their local staff.
For some staff there are penalty fees involved if they breach the contract early. But for mine it was not mentioned.
For me, I am happy to stay on the job but my wife needs my help on the family business.
So any good suggestions?
Thanks.


AJAJ,

Be sure to also check company (HR) guidelines, employee handbook, and the like, for penalties. Though it is debatable whether these would apply regarding notice period and penalties if you did not see them when you signed the contract.

However, legally speaking, if there is no specific mention of you having to serve the entire 24 month tenure before being able to resign, standard employment practices would come into effect. Most likely, that would mean a one month notice period.

It may be a good idea to consult with a lawyer on this; how this contract is interpreted depends a lot more on precedence cases rather than actual law.



Hi, thank you for your reply. It was useful.
I have talked to a lawyer and the problem is solved.
Thank you for your reply once again.

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Postby AJAJ » Mon, 10 Feb 2014 8:04 am

Wd40 wrote:I think you should be able to amicably sort it out with your employer with 2 months notice. From my experience, no employer wants to keep disgruntled employees who dont want to work anymore. They have more to lose than to gain during that period. You could possibly corrupt other employees minds or work with utter negligence. If the employer is not an idiot they will relieve you with a reasonable notice period.

I have got myself relieved in a single day, in my previous company, even though my notice period is 1 month. I wasnt working on any project and there was no handover to be given so there was no reason for them to hold me for one month. I told them exactly that and even though initially they were hesitant to let me go, finally they made the more sensible decision. :)

There was another incident in the same company(This is bit off topic, just for fun). One of my colleague resigned just 1 month after joining the company and gave 1 months notice, as per the contract and on the day he resigned, our MD called him for a chat and asked him, why he wanted to resign. My colleague, very candidly, said everything negative about the company that the MD got mad, she told him "If you hate this company so much, why do you want to wait here until next month, you can leave next week" :lol: Luckily for him the next company let him join earlier.


Hi Wd40,

Thank you for your positive reply.
I have consulted a lawyer and usually in these cases the right is with the employee as long as you give a notice letter of one or two months.
Thanks.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 10 Feb 2014 8:54 am

That's good to know, but the problem is that it doesn't sound like that is the law, but just what was able to be sorted in this instance. "usually in these cases" which means it had something to do with the way your contract what actually written (probably not giving equal rights to both party - required) but unfortunately, we didn't have access to your contract to see. Anyway, glad this portion of your problem is sorted. Now you just have to hope that you can get an AIP for the new position. That could be a different kettle of fish altogether. Good luck.


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