Singapore Expats

Non-compete clauses - or lack thereof

Discuss about getting a well paid job or career advancement. Ask about salaries, expat packages, CPF & taxes for expatriate.
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Post by JR8 » Fri, 26 Sep 2014 11:22 am

That's like saying, you're all fired but you're welcome to continue with your jobs if you'll take an x% pay-cut.

Can't say I've worked for any company where they're running their affairs that close to the wire to make such a PR-hot-potato/event/policy happen.

[Wasn't something similar done in Detroit, in order to 'break the unions'? You're all fired, but you can re-apply for your jobs outside of the unionisation']

It's nothing to do with UK law as such. The principles of Contract Law are pretty standard, well, within countries that have 1st world legislation. You can't form a contract and then have one side unilaterally alter it's terms. Think of all the scenarios where that could lead...

When you go and open a bank account here, or get a credit card, and so on, there's always lots of smallprint. You always have to tick boxes and sign that you're read and understood it. And if that smallprint changes, they are duty-bound to inform you (rather than assume you review and re-review the smallprint on a daily basis to spot any changes). The flipside (which you seem to be suggesting) is that they could legitimately say double the interest rate charged on your credit card, and not even inform you.

p.s. Did you get out of the wrong side of bed this morning you grump!? :lol:

p.s. edit to update.
Ok, your later posts highlight the presence of a contract clause re: a variable pay element. That changes the issue, and hence discussion. If employees sign up to this, then... there you go.

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Post by Addadude » Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:07 pm

I’m not sure how relevant it is today, but I can share my own experience when I signed a letter of employment with a Singapore SME in 1993. (Remember there was no internet or helpful message boards like this to check with.)

This ‘letter’ was 14 pages long and dense with legalese. The part of the contract that immediately worried me was where it stated that if I were to leave the company through my own ‘determination’ (eg. I quit), I would not be able to work in Singapore in any field relating to the company’s business for a period of one year. I checked with a lawyer in Ireland and he told me that as far as the UK employment laws were concerned, it was unenforceable. He assumed that Singapore law would follow UK law…

Fast forward about 18 months and I was totally fed up with the typical Chinese boss towkay tyranny that I had been experiencing. I spend $200 to get a Singapore lawyer to look over the contract and she pretty much said, that yes, if it did go to court I would probably win. The problem was that the SME had MUCH deeper pockets than me so it was not a battle I could remotely afford to fight.

Add to the fact that my Singapore boss had a well-earned reputation for suing former employees (which of course I only discovered after I arrived here), and it was pretty clear that I had only two choices: quit and leave the country or endure the remaining 18 months of my contract. At that stage I had decided that I liked Singapore and wanted to stay a while longer so I chose to stick it out.

So I should have accepted the job under those terms? (The SME made it clear to me that the condition I was concerned about was non-negotiable.) I can only say that I don’t regret coming to Singapore at all – but those first 3 years were a doozy!

Lessons learned:

1. If a company has put in all terms like this, effectively ‘forcing’ people to stay with them, it probably isn’t a company you want to work for.

2. Don’t sign anything unless you are prepared to live with the consequences.

3. Just because you are legally in the right, it doesn’t mean you can afford to fight back
"Both politicians and nappies need to be changed regularly, and for the same reasons."

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