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Employment Law question - Notice periods

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ellatyne
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Employment Law question - Notice periods

Postby ellatyne » Tue, 28 Feb 2017 1:29 pm

Hi there,

I wanted to ask a question about notice periods in Singapore Employment contracts. I read that the Employment law states that a notice period should be the same for both parties, i.e if the employee has a 4 week notice period, then the same should work for the employer.

My contract states that my company can terminate my contract immediately at any time, and then in a separate clause states that my notice period for them is 1 month.

Does anyone know what the legal situation would be if I decided to quit? I want to understand if they would then have the right to terminate my employment.

Thank you in advance for any contributions.

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Re: RE: Employment Law question - Notice periods

Postby ecureilx » Tue, 28 Feb 2017 1:40 pm

ellatyne wrote:Hi there,

I wanted to ask a question about notice periods in Singapore Employment contracts. I read that the Employment law states that a notice period should be the same for both parties, i.e if the employee has a 4 week notice period, then the same should work for the employer.

My contract states that my company can terminate my contract immediately at any time, and then in a separate clause states that my notice period for them is 1 month.

Does anyone know what the legal situation would be if I decided to quit? I want to understand if they would then have the right to terminate my employment.

Thank you in advance for any contributions.


if they terminate you minus a one month notice, they need to compensate you in lieu.

Same, if you want to leave instantly.

Of course nasty bosses (who are a minority but do exist ... ) can find some way you keep you or fire you at their will.

Not much legal protection on that score.

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Re: Employment Law question - Notice periods

Postby PNGMK » Tue, 28 Feb 2017 1:47 pm

IME you can usually expect to be asked to leave promptly (same day and a month paid off) if it's an MNC and you give notice. Local SME etc are a different issue and often want their pound of flesh.
I have gay, black, Asian friends and then JR8.

ellatyne
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Re: Employment Law question - Notice periods

Postby ellatyne » Sun, 02 Apr 2017 10:02 am

Hi everyone,

I wanted to follow up and ask for a bit more advice. I have now handed in my notice with my current employer and they would like me to leave earlier than my 1 month notice which is what I expected.

I want to understand if them cutting my notice period short is allowed, and whether I should still be compensated for my entire notice period. I have included some contract excerpts for support. I'd be interested to know if any of what is being done is not legal under Singapore law.

Thanks in advance for any further help you can give me.

Signed letter of offer:

TERMINATION AND NOTICE
9.1. The Company reserves the right to terminate without any notice period and to not give any reason for termination.
9.2. Upon the termination of your employment you shall return to the Company all documents, records, items and materials in your possession or custody belonging to the Company or its clients and you shall not retain any copies (including electronic or soft copies) thereof.
9.3. If you or the Company provide a notice period, you shall handover all documents and materials relating to your work and ensure a smooth transition of your duties and responsibilities.


Employee handbook:

Termination of Service
While we hope that all employment relationships will be lengthy and mutually beneficial, all employment is governed by the traditional legal principle of employment "at will." Should there regretfully be a separation, termination of employment by either party shall be effected in writing. The period of notice required is one (1) month.
There are two basic types of termination: termination initiated by an employee and termination initiated by ****.

Resignation
An Employee who tenders an intent to resign is required to work during the notice period, and annual leave shall not be used to substitute for the notice period unless the employee has valid reason. The respective Manager will decide on merit of the case to approve or reject the leave application. However, the Company reserves the rights to waive in full or part of the notice period, receive payment in-lieu of notice period or release the Employee from service with immediate effect, subject to exigencies of the service period. The period of notice shall not include any period of maternity leave.

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Re: Employment Law question - Notice periods

Postby PNGMK » Sun, 02 Apr 2017 4:42 pm

ellatyne wrote:Hi everyone,

I wanted to follow up and ask for a bit more advice. I have now handed in my notice with my current employer and they would like me to leave earlier than my 1 month notice which is what I expected.

I want to understand if them cutting my notice period short is allowed, and whether I should still be compensated for my entire notice period. I have included some contract excerpts for support. I'd be interested to know if any of what is being done is not legal under Singapore law.

Thanks in advance for any further help you can give me.

Signed letter of offer:

TERMINATION AND NOTICE
9.1. The Company reserves the right to terminate without any notice period and to not give any reason for termination.
9.2. Upon the termination of your employment you shall return to the Company all documents, records, items and materials in your possession or custody belonging to the Company or its clients and you shall not retain any copies (including electronic or soft copies) thereof.
9.3. If you or the Company provide a notice period, you shall handover all documents and materials relating to your work and ensure a smooth transition of your duties and responsibilities.


Employee handbook:

Termination of Service
While we hope that all employment relationships will be lengthy and mutually beneficial, all employment is governed by the traditional legal principle of employment "at will." Should there regretfully be a separation, termination of employment by either party shall be effected in writing. The period of notice required is one (1) month.
There are two basic types of termination: termination initiated by an employee and termination initiated by ****.

Resignation
An Employee who tenders an intent to resign is required to work during the notice period, and annual leave shall not be used to substitute for the notice period unless the employee has valid reason. The respective Manager will decide on merit of the case to approve or reject the leave application. However, the Company reserves the rights to waive in full or part of the notice period, receive payment in-lieu of notice period or release the Employee from service with immediate effect, subject to exigencies of the service period. The period of notice shall not include any period of maternity leave.


This is such BS, they want everything their way.

1. Inform them if they do not offer paid notice you are leaving Monday (i.e. if they insist you work 1 week tell them you want to be paid that week plus the remainder of your notice period - 3 weeks - otherwise your leaving immediately).
2. If they offer paid notice then ask take whatever they give - your contract only gives you what they offer.
3. If you have another job (I hope) see if you can start earlier if you need the income.
I have gay, black, Asian friends and then JR8.

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Re: Employment Law question - Notice periods

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 02 Apr 2017 7:31 pm

ellatyne wrote:Hi everyone,

I wanted to follow up and ask for a bit more advice. I have now handed in my notice with my current employer and they would like me to leave earlier than my 1 month notice which is what I expected.

I want to understand if them cutting my notice period short is allowed, and whether I should still be compensated for my entire notice period. I have included some contract excerpts for support. I'd be interested to know if any of what is being done is not legal under Singapore law.

Yes and no. If you are being offered short notice then it's just that. You will be released with no further obligations from either side. You will be allowed to leave early (thereby allowing you to go to work with a new company earlier) without penalty. You will only be paid up to your last day and for any accrued annual leave you may have. You will not be required to pay salary in lieu nor will they pay you salary in lieu.

Thanks in advance for any further help you can give me.

Signed letter of offer:

TERMINATION AND NOTICE
9.1. The Company reserves the right to terminate without any notice period and to not give any reason for termination.

I have to assume you were making more than 4.5K/mo so therefore did not fall under purview of the Employment Act (Cap 50). This means redress would have to be through a civil court and not via the MOM. Should you fall under the 4.5K/mo cap, you can seek redress from the MOM.

However the wording here is suspect. Termination is usually reserved for release WITH CAUSE. Normally 'with Cause' is a serious breach. Otherwise the term should be Released from Service. Released from Service can be for any number of reasons but they have to either give you the same notice that you are required to give should you resign OR pay you your normal salary in lieu of notice. The same is required should resign and not want to work out your notice, you would have to pay the company salary in lieu. This is the normal procedure should you have access to sensitive information. They will give you a box for your personal items (taken while under observation) and you will be escorted to the door. Garden Leave is not usually practice here but not sure about the Financial Sector as it is often used in conjunction with 3 month notice periods. This means you are not allowed to come to the office but you will be paid your wages as per normal until your notice has been fulfilled. This is to prevent you from joining a competitor immediately, but also prevents you from accessing any corporate records.



9.2. Upon the termination of your employment you shall return to the Company all documents, records, items and materials in your possession or custody belonging to the Company or its clients and you shall not retain any copies (including electronic or soft copies) thereof.
9.3. If you or the Company provide a notice period, you shall handover all documents and materials relating to your work and ensure a smooth transition of your duties and responsibilities.


Employee handbook:

Termination of Service
While we hope that all employment relationships will be lengthy and mutually beneficial, all employment is governed by the traditional legal principle of employment "at will." Should there regretfully be a separation, termination of employment by either party shall be effected in writing. The period of notice required is one (1) month.
There are two basic types of termination: termination initiated by an employee and termination initiated by ****.

The wording of the last sentence is incorrect. Termination is instituted by the employer alone. Resignation is instituted by the Employee alone. Termination by the employer can be serious (Termination) or desirable (Release from Service) with out a specific 'cause'. One of the most popular is "lack of Corporate Fit", e.g., chronic lateness, reports always late, prone to errors, etc. Termination could be items like theft, soliciting clients on behalf of a competitor, lying, fighting, etc., etc.

Resignation
An Employee who tenders an intent to resign is required to work during the notice period, and annual leave shall not be used to substitute for the notice period unless the employee has valid reason. This is normal as it makes sense - if you go on leave you cannot properly 'turn over' to your replacement. The respective Manager will decide on merit of the case to approve or reject the leave application. However, the Company reserves the rights to waive in full or part of the notice period, receive payment in-lieu of notice period or release the Employee from service with immediate effect, subject to exigencies of the service period. The period of notice shall not include any period of maternity leave.

There is nothing really amiss with the resignation paragraph. If you resign you are required to work your notice or pay salary in lieu. If you offer to waive your notice and pay salary in lieu, it is saying the company can waive of any portion of it, therefore requiring you to work some or all of it. Or the employer can release you from the notice period without your having to pay the salary in lieu - allowing your short notice. This allows you to go to work for another employer immediately. If the company allows you to take leave for the whole notice period, you still cannot go to work for another employer until such time as your leave/notice runs out. Whereas, if you employer allows you to use your leave to offset your notice, you can start work with another employer immediately. The downside to the latter is that if you use your leave to "offset your notice" thus allowing you to go to work for another immediately, you only get paid for those worked days. You don't receive any pay for the Leave used to "offset" notice. And because your notice has shortened, you only get paid for the days you did work.


SMS

ellatyne
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Re: Employment Law question - Notice periods

Postby ellatyne » Sun, 02 Apr 2017 8:02 pm

Thanks so much for your information. Its really helpful and encouraging because I currently am feeling pretty pushed into a corner with everything going the employers way.

I am over the 4.5k monthly figure and I have been with the company less than 2 years.

I have not requested to terminate my employment early nor do I want to as my new employer doesn't want me to start for 3-4 weeks from now.

My current company want to exit me from the business asap for their convenience, not due to anything I have done wrong, but because they don't like people who have decided they want to leave hanging around as they feel it brings negativity on the team. Ordinarily they would want this to be immediate, however because this is a crucial time for the business they want to keep me for another 7 working days and then terminate from that point.

Just to be very clear I have served the company very well and so there is no valid reason for them to terminate my employment, this is purely in relation to my handing in my resignation.

So I guess the question is with the circumstances as described above should they still be paying me for my entire notice period, whether or not they want me to finish with them earlier than my notice period?

Thanks again for your help on this.

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Re: Employment Law question - Notice periods

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 02 Apr 2017 8:23 pm

Did you officially resign with a written letter of notice first, or did you verbally mention it and they followed it with a letter of termination/release from service before you were able to submit the formal resignation?

If your didn't give them written resignation first but mentioned it, then you are caught on the horns of a dilemma if they have given you written letter of termination/retrenchment/release from service as they have the upper hand.They still cannot just give you short notice without payment in lieu for the balance, however. They would need to pay or you could take them to court (civil - which probably would cost you more than you are going to lose). If you gave them written notice first, then if they want to shorten your notice period that have to give you salary in lieu for the balance.

sms

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Re: Employment Law question - Notice periods

Postby ellatyne » Sun, 02 Apr 2017 9:06 pm

I was careful to make sure that my first notice to them was formal written in order to initiate my notice period, so again this should go in my favour. I know they will be wanting to terminate at their chosen date, and pay me only up until that point, but it is useful to know that they should be paying me for my entire notice period. I will persevere to try and be paid for my notice period and see what happens. Thank you for your advice, it has been very helpful.

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Re: Employment Law question - Notice periods

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 02 Apr 2017 9:21 pm

Wishing you Good Luck. ;-)

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Re: Employment Law question - Notice periods

Postby ellatyne » Mon, 03 Apr 2017 10:43 am

Well! I am stunned to say that I was let go on the spot this morning. The HR lady told me that I would be paid up until today and no more. I said to her that I felt this was not right and that I should be paid for the notice period. I told her that I would email relevant people in the business to discuss further as I dispute this as incorrect and not following Singapore law. My laptop was taken off me there and then and I basically left immediately.

I have the email addresses for the legal and HR teams and will cc in a few other people but is there any advice on what you would give me to say. I feel so unfairly treated after I worked so hard for them.

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Re: Employment Law question - Notice periods

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 03 Apr 2017 11:53 am

ellatyne wrote:Well! I am stunned to say that I was let go on the spot this morning. The HR lady told me that I would be paid up until today and no more. I said to her that I felt this was not right and that I should be paid for the notice period. I told her that I would email relevant people in the business to discuss further as I dispute this as incorrect and not following Singapore law. My laptop was taken off me there and then and I basically left immediately.

I have the email addresses for the legal and HR teams and will cc in a few other people but is there any advice on what you would give me to say. I feel so unfairly treated after I worked so hard for them.


This doesn't surprise me given the contract you were on. Sorry. A lot of local's have learned to work around this by giving notice on a day or so before they are due at their new job (and taking a risk they will have to serve notice).
I have gay, black, Asian friends and then JR8.

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Re: Employment Law question - Notice periods

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 03 Apr 2017 5:33 pm

The problem is, as you fall outside the protection of the Employment Act, your only recourse is a lawyer and the Civil Court. It's possible you can recoup your losses, but I'd hazard a guess it's going to cost you as much as you would gain, but you would be able to make a point on principle I suppose. I would talk to a lawyer and most will give you an opinion on whether or not there is a possible case. From there you will have to make at least an informed decision.

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Re: Employment Law question - Notice periods

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 03 Apr 2017 9:27 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:The problem is, as you fall outside the protection of the Employment Act, your only recourse is a lawyer and the Civil Court. It's possible you can recoup your losses, but I'd hazard a guess it's going to cost you as much as you would gain, but you would be able to make a point on principle I suppose. I would talk to a lawyer and most will give you an opinion on whether or not there is a possible case. From there you will have to make at least an informed decision.


Find a lawyer who will write a letter demanding payment of your notice period. That's about it. That should be $100.
I have gay, black, Asian friends and then JR8.

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Re: Employment Law question - Notice periods

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 03 Apr 2017 9:30 pm

This! ^^^

Usually works with intransigent Landlords, will probably work with arsehole employers as well I reckon.


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