Singapore Expats Forum

Advice on contract I have just been sent.

Discuss about getting a well paid job or career advancement. Ask about salaries, expat packages, CPF & taxes for expatriate.

ceej1979
Regular
Regular
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu, 03 Sep 2009
Location: Bristol, England

Advice on contract I have just been sent.

Postby ceej1979 » Thu, 21 Jan 2010 8:45 pm

Hi,

A bit of background. I have various family commitments (a lot of my relatives live out there already) in the next 2-3 years in Singapore. And rather than spending thousand pounds a year commuting, a cousin suggested I consider coming out to work for the period.

It never really crossed my mind, but I soon decided that if it was possible (as in to get an equivilant job), it would be the best option, both financially, and culturally. As I'd actually like to spend some time out there anyway.

I work in physics publishing - assessing academic research basically, and making decisions on whether it has any commercial, scientific value to the journal.

I'm not a scientist, and don't have an Physics background. I'm a publisher. I make assesments of articles based on the market, and how they'd go down. We basically work in conjuncture with physicists on coming to decisions on whether to print something or not.

There is only actually one Physics publisher in Singapore. So I really didn't have much choice in where to apply!

They were very keen from the start. Very obliging, and making a big effort to make this work. They let me interview in London, and have made no requests for me to meet them in Singapore.

Anyway, the culmination of it is all is I now have a contract and a MOM application form in my inbox.

I really just wanted a bit of advice on the contract I've been offered. As I said, they are the only company in the industry in Singapore, so it's basically this or staying here.

Salary - is $3000 a month. Which I make about £14k net when you take into account Singapore tax levels. So maybe £19-20K, with UK taxation levels?

I'm not really going out to make money, and the role they have offered me will really boost my career on my return - in regards to my responsibilities there. So it's not a huge issue. I was just wandering whether this is a decent salary to live on over there? In regards to accomodation, I will have a very cheap rent - like $80 a week(I'd be living with my cousin place) so this is another factor.

Hours - 42 a week. 45 minute lunch break. Is this about the norm?

Contract - is fixed term for the first 12 months, and then will be extended after annual review. Basically an option for either of us to walk from there. Again, that's pretty perfect for my needs. Just wondering if this is common?

Holiday - 14 paid a year. My cousin tells me they don't give you much paid holiday in Singapore. I have been told that I can also have 14 unpaid as well by the company. So 28. I will be asking for this to be added to the contract, but I'd just like to know whether this seems about right?

My problem is that I really don't know much about the general norms for Singapore employment deals, so I have nothing to compare it to! So I'd appreciate some feedback.

MOM form.

Just really wondering about the employment section basically. Should I be really talking myself up on the "nature of duties" bit. As in, there are several things I do, that are probably a bit more advanced than what's in Singapore Physics Publishing at the minute - the UK tends to be way out ahead of Asia on most things. Should I be highlighting my expertise in these sorts of things, to have a better chance?

Or should I just stick to a more generalistic approach.

Finally, the education section. Should I just be filling in my highest qualification (degree) like in the UK. Or do they want to know school stuff? The form says "Insitution/university you got the award from, as the only option". I read that assuming they just wanted me to write down my degree.

My only real issue is that I really don't have any school certificates any more (I left school a loooong time ago!) I have my degree still. Are they going to be asking me to provide a copy of my errrr, Maths GCSE, or English A level, or 100 metre swimming certificate if I write them down?!

I was under the impression that you just wrote your highest qualification these days?

User avatar
jpatokal
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3014
Joined: Tue, 09 Dec 2003
Location: Terra Australis Incognita

Postby jpatokal » Fri, 22 Jan 2010 10:42 am

$3000 if you had to pay market rates for rent would be pretty tough... but since you have a cheap place to stay and are apparently single, it's quite livable. (Is your cousin really OK with just $80/week? Might want to bump that up a bit more for family harmony...)

Hours and holiday are normal. Not good, but normal. And yes, if you want the option for unpaid leave, make sure it's in the contract because otherwise it doesn't exist.

Singapore cares mostly about your higher degrees, so as long as you have your Uni certs you should be OK. (Can't quite remember if I ever needed to show my high school stuff, but then again, this was long enough ago that things may have changed anyway.)
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

irvine
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 312
Joined: Mon, 15 Dec 2008

Postby irvine » Fri, 22 Jan 2010 11:10 am

If you ask me, you could do better.
But, this is a good foot in the door. After you get here, you can perhaps find something better.

Can you negotiate to 4000 at least? You have overseas experience to bring in. This is something they find value add. And perhaps look at what are the other value adds you could bring in.

ceej1979
Regular
Regular
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu, 03 Sep 2009
Location: Bristol, England

Postby ceej1979 » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 8:47 am

irvine wrote:If you ask me, you could do better.
But, this is a good foot in the door. After you get here, you can perhaps find something better.

Can you negotiate to 4000 at least? You have overseas experience to bring in. This is something they find value add. And perhaps look at what are the other value adds you could bring in.


Hi there,

Thanks for the reply. My cousin said the same thing to me actually. He's long established in Singapore.

He thinks I should be asking for more. He's woking on the basis that they want to bring me over, so there may be room to move.

My only real issue is that I pushed very hard on one thing already. They wanted me to come over to Singapore to meet a few people, and basically interview again. I basically refused, and said they'd have to come up with an offer that didn't involve that.

I actually expected them to walk, but they instead came back with this offer. So you could say they have already made a bit of a move.

I've looked at the general market for the job in Singapore. The actual average salary appears to be $2800. So you could argue the offer is just what the market is?

Should I be asking for more money? and how would you go about justifying it?

I should add. The company president literally had to be persuaded by the senior management to give me this offer. He originally didn't want to give me an offer unless I went over to interview me. The management team worked very hard to get this movement.

So do you think it's pushable....?

ceej1979
Regular
Regular
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu, 03 Sep 2009
Location: Bristol, England

Postby ceej1979 » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 9:03 am

irvine wrote:If you ask me, you could do better.
But, this is a good foot in the door. After you get here, you can perhaps find something better.

Can you negotiate to 4000 at least? You have overseas experience to bring in. This is something they find value add. And perhaps look at what are the other value adds you could bring in.


It's kind of a fine line to be honest. The company chairman was about 50/50 on the whole thing. He wanted me over, but he was posturing for a while that I would get no offer unless I went over and interviewed again.

I basically wasn't keen on that, and told them so. Anyway the senior management petitioned Mr. Chairman to I suppose, take a risk, and go with me, and they then came back with that.

So, I'm not 100% sure how to go about pusing for more in light of this. And whether it's possible.

At the same time, this job is a really big step up for me, regardless of the money. My earning potential after a few years in this could change quite a lot.

I have to be honest, I don't have a very expensive lifestyle. I'm single, I've always sort of lived in "house shares" in the UK. I've never had any dependents, or financial commitments. I kind of live a bit like a student I guess!

I could probably live on $2500 quite easily in the UK, never mind Singapore.

I'm kind of thinking I'm missing something really big somewhere. I'm not calculating something, and I'm going to get over there and go "oh yeah, I forgot that!".

Just out of interest. If you are paying say $100 a week rent, including utilities, are single, and don't really do much more than go out for the odd drink, play a bit of pool, and eat out in cheap places - $3000 is going to be pretty liveable right?!

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 35159
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 9:20 am

Very livable. Especially seeing your rent is negligible for all intents and purposes in comparison. If you are here and single and young and looking for a couple of years to gain that international exposure, you could do a lot worse. As pointed out earlier, get your foot in the door, expand your networks as far as you can and then go from there! Food is cheap here is you can eat "local" and shouldn't set you back more'n 25/day if you eat in the local hawker centres with only occasionally pampering of your tastebuds with western fare or 'garbage in garbage out' (franchise fast food). :wink:

ceej1979
Regular
Regular
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu, 03 Sep 2009
Location: Bristol, England

Postby ceej1979 » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 9:25 am

jpatokal wrote:$3000 if you had to pay market rates for rent would be pretty tough... but since you have a cheap place to stay and are apparently single, it's quite livable. (Is your cousin really OK with just $80/week? Might want to bump that up a bit more for family harmony...)

Hours and holiday are normal. Not good, but normal. And yes, if you want the option for unpaid leave, make sure it's in the contract because otherwise it doesn't exist.

Singapore cares mostly about your higher degrees, so as long as you have your Uni certs you should be OK. (Can't quite remember if I ever needed to show my high school stuff, but then again, this was long enough ago that things may have changed anyway.)


It's a tad difficult. They seem to really want me. But at the same time, I had to work quite hard to talk them into taking me on without really interviewing for them.

The entire recruitment was just me e-mailing their HR, and enquiring about working in Singapore, and them arranging for me to meet one of their people in London. Which was little more than a very informal 20 minute chat.

The job I am taking is not replacing anyone either. There wasn't even a vacancy. They've just created it for me, to come over.

The issue is that the company Chairman was originally against offering me a role it seems. He wanted me there, but he understandibly wanted me to go through another interview. I actually kind of refused. On the basis that I basically didn't want to fly over.

Anyway, the senior managers got togethor, and went back to the chairman and persuaded him to make an offer.

And this is it.

I've looked at the market for Editors in Singapore. It seems to be about the $3000 ball park. So I think they are being pretty honest.

I'm just thinking, will they really want me pushing again? Will the chairman just see me as ungrateful? As he's maybe moved quite a bit already, and taken a chance with me.

At the same time, if the market is seemingly $3000 a month, how would I justify more?

ceej1979
Regular
Regular
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu, 03 Sep 2009
Location: Bristol, England

Postby ceej1979 » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 9:41 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Very livable. Especially seeing your rent is negligible for all intents and purposes in comparison. If you are here and single and young and looking for a couple of years to gain that international exposure, you could do a lot worse. As pointed out earlier, get your foot in the door, expand your networks as far as you can and then go from there! Food is cheap here is you can eat "local" and shouldn't set you back more'n 25/day if you eat in the local hawker centres with only occasionally pampering of your tastebuds with western fare or 'garbage in garbage out' (franchise fast food). :wink:


Hi

Thanks for your kind reply. It's very reassuring, as it kind of hones into my own thinking (and lifestyle) completely.

My cousin has been out there for 5 years, and I myself have lived with him before - just while travelling.

I was amazed at how cheap his lifestyle generally was. We just used to eat out in all the local (siglap) food courts, and play pool, and go bowling, and things like that.

I'm not the type of person with many financial commitments. Or with a very expensive lifestyle. Even in the UK (I do alright), I live in a house share with 5 other people.

His words to me were when I showed him the offer was "you will be very comfortable as long as you stay away from women with expensive tastes!".

I kind of agree. I'll be treating the intial move as an experience, and an opportunity, and maybe work from there.

Don't get me wrong - I won't be in Singapore working for $3000 a month in 2-3 years time. There will come a time, when I either move on, or move back, depending on what turns up.

It's just such a good opportunity I feel. I may lose out a bit in the short term, but I can't see how I won't come out of it much higher up the ladder, than if I stayed in the UK.

I really wouldn't get this sort of opportunity in the UK at the minute. I think that's half the reason they want me.

Most publishers tend to flock to Europe/USA. Not to Asia. So there are a lot of good people in the UK at most companies. Hard to progress.

cheers for the advice. much appreciated

irvine
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 312
Joined: Mon, 15 Dec 2008

Postby irvine » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 10:40 am

If salary is 'unpushable'... do you know what are their other benefits? For example, medical and dental. My company gives unlimited medical (via a med card), and $200 dental. I think that is not too bad although dental could up a little. Also, if you're wearing glasses, are there any optical benefits? Considering you'll have to read a lot, especially on the computer, don't you?

Any company transportation provided? How far will your cousin's place be from your workplace? If you gonna spend more than 45 mins on to and fro work, then you may like to consider to factor in your time, and travel expenses. (The good thing is, Singapore has libraries everywhere so you could always carry a book withyou to read. I catch up on my readings a lot that way.)

End of the day, salary may not mean everything... when you have a good boss and work environment, great. If a bad boss, oh, some people rather have no job. Haha..

User avatar
ksl
Governor
Governor
Posts: 6005
Joined: Mon, 19 Jul 2004
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Postby ksl » Sat, 23 Jan 2010 1:55 pm

I would settle for the offer, though you need some sort of medical cover, you will end up paying more than any Singaporean or PR.

"you will be very comfortable as long as you stay away from women with expensive tastes!".


Always have a plan and stick to it! Nothing wrong with expensive women, providing they are wealthy and they are paying! They are the ones you want to score, :wink:

ceej1979
Regular
Regular
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu, 03 Sep 2009
Location: Bristol, England

Postby ceej1979 » Sun, 24 Jan 2010 11:55 am

ksl wrote:I would settle for the offer, though you need some sort of medical cover, you will end up paying more than any Singaporean or PR.

"you will be very comfortable as long as you stay away from women with expensive tastes!".


Always have a plan and stick to it! Nothing wrong with expensive women, providing they are wealthy and they are paying! They are the ones you want to score, :wink:


I was reading the contract. There is medical cover it seems included.

It says I have medical cover, and hospitalisation cover.

However, the medical cover only extends to $50 of treatment at any one appointment.

And the hosptial cover only kicks in after my probation period is over.

I'm guessing the medical cover just covers Dr appointments, and some/all prescriptions? As in, I have no idea how much it costs, but visiting a Dr isn't going to cost more than $50 right?

And anything serious is covered by the hospitalisation part of the coverage? as in, if I have to go to hospital that will cover it.

My only issue is that my probationary period is seemingly a whopping 6 months. So presumabely I'm not going to be covered for hospitalisation for quite a long time.

I'm thinking this is something I should be asked to be changed right?

ceej1979
Regular
Regular
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu, 03 Sep 2009
Location: Bristol, England

Postby ceej1979 » Sun, 24 Jan 2010 12:08 pm

ksl wrote:I would settle for the offer, though you need some sort of medical cover, you will end up paying more than any Singaporean or PR.

"you will be very comfortable as long as you stay away from women with expensive tastes!".


Always have a plan and stick to it! Nothing wrong with expensive women, providing they are wealthy and they are paying! They are the ones you want to score, :wink:


As for women with expensive tastes, it's a subject my cousin brings up almost every time I speak to him!

He is from very humble origins (one of the poorer areas of the north of England) and is somehow engaged to a girl from an incredibely "grand" family in Singapore. Her fathers a very important man it seems. By all accounts his house is more like a stately home, which is no mean small deal with Singapore land prices right!?

Anyway. Her wealthy upbringing, kind of clashes with his meagre child hood. And he is in constant shock at the amount of money she throws away when he is out with her.

This he does not mind, until it comes to him being the "gent" and buying meals, drinks, and general nights out.

Apparently, the bills are akin to the national debt of small countries. When I was visiting last, in one of the countries most expensive bars, she decided to order a Champagne cocktail, which cost about £30........

He smiled and nodded, like it was no big deal, before muttering to me, the immortal words, as she walked away to powder her nose:

"Always the most expensive drink on the menu! Always!"

Na. seriously. She's a lovely person. Honestly is. But the moral conflicts in the mind of a 20 something northerner, brought up in an industrial town, on a diet of chips and mushy peas, dating one of Singapores "debutantes" is rather amusing to the outsider.

Most of his moaning, and complaints are generally done completely "tongue in cheek" and to amuse me, but it's great fun.

Seriously, he finds it as hilarious.

ceej1979
Regular
Regular
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu, 03 Sep 2009
Location: Bristol, England

Postby ceej1979 » Sun, 24 Jan 2010 12:26 pm

irvine wrote:If salary is 'unpushable'... do you know what are their other benefits? For example, medical and dental. My company gives unlimited medical (via a med card), and $200 dental. I think that is not too bad although dental could up a little. Also, if you're wearing glasses, are there any optical benefits? Considering you'll have to read a lot, especially on the computer, don't you?

Any company transportation provided? How far will your cousin's place be from your workplace? If you gonna spend more than 45 mins on to and fro work, then you may like to consider to factor in your time, and travel expenses. (The good thing is, Singapore has libraries everywhere so you could always carry a book withyou to read. I catch up on my readings a lot that way.)

End of the day, salary may not mean everything... when you have a good boss and work environment, great. If a bad boss, oh, some people rather have no job. Haha..


I'm a bit confused on the medical. Again, I have no experience to really compare it to other than the NHS, so any advice would be appreciated.

Apparently I'm covered for medical consultation, up to the value of $50 per trip. I'm guessing this just covers trips to the doctors, and prescriptions? This won't be more than $50 right?

My issue being, I take a prescription for sort of minor inflammation in a couple of joints. And I get that about once a month in the UK. I also tend to see a doctor once a year as well as a sort of routine check up on it. As well as the odd blood test to make sure the medication isn't having any adverse affects or anything.

I'll of course check before I'd sign, but I'd guess that is what this covers. Routine sort of doctor visits/perscriptions like this?

I also have hospitalization cover. Which I assume covers more serious stuff. My only issue being, that this does not activate until after my probation period. And they seem to have given me a super long (well compared to UK standards) period of 6 months - presumabely to see how I settle in the country etc etc.

So, I assume for this 6 months, I won't be covered for any serious injury at all?

I'm thinking this should be something I should ask them to change? And if they won't, could I get my own cover for this period another way?

Finally! As stated, I generally have once a year check ups in the UK with the NHS. My ideal plan would be to continue these, even though I won't even be living in the UK. My doctor knows me very well, and I'd like to keep it going, as he's helped me a lot with the whole thing.

If I continue to pay National Insurance contributions, can I continue to see NHS doctors when I go back to the UK for visits?

The theory being, to just book my annual visit when I go back to see family.

thanks

irvine
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 312
Joined: Mon, 15 Dec 2008

Postby irvine » Sun, 24 Jan 2010 1:36 pm

Well, just don't fall sick then ;)

A visit to the clinic should be less than$50 usually. However, if you go to the hospital, it will be probably $100plus; or 24hr clinics if after hours.

ceej1979
Regular
Regular
Posts: 104
Joined: Thu, 03 Sep 2009
Location: Bristol, England

Postby ceej1979 » Sun, 24 Jan 2010 1:47 pm

irvine wrote:Well, just don't fall sick then ;)

A visit to the clinic should be less than$50 usually. However, if you go to the hospital, it will be probably $100plus; or 24hr clinics if after hours.


That's actually a bit more reassuring. I think I got confused, and thought I'd be paying sort of tourist hospital fees if I got ill.

Keep forgetting, I'll technically be a tax paying resident.

I was sort of picturing getting £10 grand hospital bills, for breaking my leg or something like that!

I think I may enquire about the hopsital insurance though. I suspect they have extended my probation period on the basis that it's my first time working abroad, and they want to check I settle OK.

The last thing they probably want is to be stuck in a contract with a guy who's boo hooing for his mother, and roast dinners, after 3 months in the country.

So, they maybe haven't taken into account they are asking me to be there for 6 months with no hospital insurance?

Anyway, I will enquire


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Careers & Jobs in Singapore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest