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Pregnancy and retrenchment

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babybump
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Pregnancy and retrenchment

Postby babybump » Thu, 01 Oct 2009 1:58 pm

Hi,

My expat friend has a good job at an American MNC in Singapore, but rumor says they will retrench around 20% of staff next month. She has been there for many years and has good performance reviews, but her department is underemployed and likely to be targeted.

She is also 3 months pregnant and hasn't told the company yet. By Singapore law, maternity benefits have to be provided after the 6th month, but 3rd-6th month there is only protection against "unfair dismissal", and retrenchment is not covered. Should she:

1) Tell her boss. They are not on very good terms and the boss may not be able to decide, but she is also a working mother and would probably be sympathetic.
2) Tell HR and hint that it could be bad publicity to fire pregnant workers. (The company is listed in "Working Mother Top 100" and cares about its image.)
3) Do nothing and hope for the best.

What do you think? Similar case at MOM website:
http://www.mom.gov.sg/publish/momportal ... Forum.html

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econoMIC
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Postby econoMIC » Thu, 01 Oct 2009 4:09 pm

Hi there. Difficult decision for sure.

For health and safety reason she is actually required to inform her management and HR about her pregnancy if I am not totally mistaken. Regardless of whether she is on good terms with her boss or not, her being pregnant can only work in her benefit. IMHO I wouldn't hint anything to HR though regarding what you suggested. If they want to fire her, they will and it would look really unprofessional if she started trying to sort of "blackmail" them.
a.k.a. littlegreenman

babybump
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Postby babybump » Fri, 02 Oct 2009 12:19 am

econoMIC wrote:For health and safety reason she is actually required to inform her management and HR about her pregnancy if I am not totally mistaken.

Yes, but the legal requirement is only one week's notice before start of leave.

Regardless of whether she is on good terms with her boss or not, her being pregnant can only work in her benefit.

Really? The company would save quite a bit of money by firing her before they have to pay maternity benefits.

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econoMIC
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Postby econoMIC » Fri, 02 Oct 2009 5:35 am

babybump wrote:
econoMIC wrote:For health and safety reason she is actually required to inform her management and HR about her pregnancy if I am not totally mistaken.

Yes, but the legal requirement is only one week's notice before start of leave.


Right, because that is going to protect the health of the mother and child while she is STILL WORKING there! But what if someone is working more than one week after finding out she is pregnant? The employer owes duty of care to the mother if she tells them and it can only be in her interest to have that duty of care on the employer's books.
a.k.a. littlegreenman

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ScoobyDoes
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Postby ScoobyDoes » Fri, 02 Oct 2009 2:41 pm

Forget H&S reasoning, it doesn't exist yet in Singapore to this scope.


Regardless of whether she is on good terms with her boss or not, her being pregnant can only work in her benefit.


Really? The company would save quite a bit of money by firing her before they have to pay maternity benefits.[/quote]

I would say this is more likely.

If she tells the boss/HR this puts her name at the top of the retrenchment queue. Forget about unfair dismissal of a pregnant worker and blah, she is lumped in with, as you say, 20% of the other workforce so her being pregnant no longer is a factor.

Legally the company can do it without fear or damage to reputation.

Not sure, it really is a tricky one but if her performance is good in reviews like you say, then it COULD be best just to not say anything and let the cards fall where they might. Have the decision and her fate based on purely ability rather than second guess the pros and cons of "coming out" as it were.


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