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Advice? $8000 penalty for early term 2yr emp contract

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kimfarar
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Advice? $8000 penalty for early term 2yr emp contract

Postby kimfarar » Wed, 10 Feb 2010 8:33 am

I am going to look over the contract very carefully, but wonder if anyone has advice or ideas for me before I start to negotiate. I don't think there will be a prob, but if I am used and abused I would worry about being locked into a 2 year contract with such a high penalty.

Also not sure what appropriate salary range is here for a position where I will be helping run a business that also includes work with children and families. I made 3500US after taxes in the states with 10+ years experience in human services. Starting salary they offered is 2500Sing with bonus and renegotiation possible after 6 months. Anyone know if that sounds appropriate as well?

Thanks for any help and ideas!

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guruvishwanath
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Postby guruvishwanath » Wed, 10 Feb 2010 8:54 am

You are an employee and not some mobile contract.

This smacks of idiocy of the highest order. I have rarely come across such penalty for leaving a job. If any, the contract would state that you cant join a competition which in itself is flawed. Want an example? Check Microsoft vs Google and that was an employment where the salary was a couple of million dollars. Usually, some companies would demand a compensation if they have sponsored your education or your relocation at their cost and they will look at pro-rating such cost. But a flat out demand? I would say you are better off not working for this sort of a firm which treats you like a contract and not a valued member of their firm.

I am not in HR but that does not mean the fundamentals are different and I have worked for small firms to very large multinationals. And believe me! your contract is not "kosher".

Also, your salary bracket is not on a high scale for them to make ludicrous demand. And it is quite obvious that you are getting literally half of your American salary (1700 USD or 2500SGD).

And you will be having a challenging time living if you have a family and you relocate. So perhaps you should do a more in-depth research on the local salary packages (good Singapore government and you will get several web sites run the government that will give you an idea of salary and contracts).

Please take your time in making a decision because the last thing you wish is to feel miserable after travelling for 10000KM.

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Postby jpatokal » Wed, 10 Feb 2010 11:35 am

The law on this in Singapore is very straightforward: no penalties allowed, only reciprocal notice periods. So if they're offering you a salary of S$2500 and demand a payment in lieu of $7500 (3 months' salary) if you quit early, then they also have give you three months' notice if they want to fire you. They can only demand years of service and a bond if they've given you extensive training (eg. air traffic controllers), which obviously isn't the case here. So tell them to stick this provision where the sun don't shine :cool:

And as far as salaries go, you're not too clear on what exactly you'll be doing, but S$2500 may quite well be a normal Singaporean salary for the position. However, this is not the kind of salary that should tempt an expat into signing over their soul for two years.
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Postby carteki » Wed, 10 Feb 2010 11:46 am

jpatokal wrote:The law on this in Singapore is very straightforward: no penalties allowed, only reciprocal notice periods.


How does this tie in with the "expat claw-back" provision. Basically most contracts I've seen state that if you leave the company within the 1st 12 months of joining then they have the right to claw back a proportionate amount of the cost involved to move you here for the time not worked. Is this just cost recovery and therefore not part of the above?

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Postby Nath21 » Wed, 10 Feb 2010 5:07 pm

Just like my tenancy agreement here I found my employment contract full of terms which local companies try and slide under the radar. Just send back a copy of the agreement with changes noted and note in your email salary expectations. I thought it would be the end of things for me but like my recruitment agent said its just the start of a negotiation process. I thought why would I want to work for someone so underhanded but its a different culture and you have to suck it up, deal with it and then leverage it.

You cannot compare a HR job in the US to a totally different job in Singapore. Only you can make the call whether its worth it once you take into account all your circumstances.
Last edited by Nath21 on Thu, 11 Feb 2010 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 10 Feb 2010 5:22 pm

The only thing I can find in black & white at the moment is this:

http://www.guidemesingapore.com/employm ... nefits.htm

Employment Termination

Statutory Requirement: Either party can terminate the employment contract by giving a written notice or by paying salary in lieu of notice to the other party. There is no statutory requirement on the number of days for the notice period. The notice period depends on what is agreed upon in the employment contract and must be the same for both parties. The employee is allowed to use his/her accrued annual leave to offset the notice period. The employment contract can be terminated by either party without notice if the other party is in willful breach of the contract.

Common Practice: Its common practice in Singapore to provide 2 weeks notice period during probationary period and 1 month notice period following confirmation of appointment. Although under the Employment Act, both sides may give salary in lieu of notice, Singapore courts have held the view that the employee can not terminate the contract by giving his salary in lieu of notice because of the practical difficulties faced by the employer in such a situation.


So, as long as equal restitution is applied to both then it's okay. A lot of temp staffing agencies do this kind of crap because it often a case of them putting out a temp/contract staff who's actually worth their salt. Often the client want to hire the person outright which obviously cuts into the agencies pocket. (This is the excuse they give - but in reality, they would make a nice fat recruitment fee which is pure profit) AND the could also collect the "in-lieu-of-notice" payment back from the staff as well.

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Postby Asdracles » Wed, 10 Feb 2010 9:57 pm

carteki wrote:
jpatokal wrote:The law on this in Singapore is very straightforward: no penalties allowed, only reciprocal notice periods.


How does this tie in with the "expat claw-back" provision. Basically most contracts I've seen state that if you leave the company within the 1st 12 months of joining then they have the right to claw back a proportionate amount of the cost involved to move you here for the time not worked. Is this just cost recovery and therefore not part of the above?


He's talking about 2500 SGD per month, so I don't think this is the case. But for this salary employment act applies.

Agree with jpatokal, if some training/certification is provided, you can be asked to return the expenses involved if you leave earlier (in my case agreement was if I leave before 2 years I should pay the courses fees only)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 10 Feb 2010 10:21 pm

Asdracles,

I'm afraid it's NOT covered under the Employment Act. Only salaries 2000/mo (up from 1600/mo) or less or workmen regardless of salary.

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let the negotiations begin I guess

Postby kimfarar » Wed, 10 Feb 2010 10:57 pm

Thanks for all the feedback. I am going to negotiate the salary (2500 is the min they can offer as I have a BA) and think I will walk if they insist on such a high penalty for early termination.

They are not paying for moving costs as I am already here and their training is essentially mentoring. I understand their desire to have an incentive for me to not leave them hanging, but I don't want them to have an incentive to force me to quit either should they decide they want to bill me for $8000.

Going to negotiate tomorrow, so any last bit of advice is appreciated.

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Asdracles
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Postby Asdracles » Thu, 11 Feb 2010 12:51 am

Asdracles wrote:He's talking about 2500 SGD per month, so I don't think this is the case. But for this salary employment act applies.


"Trust, but verify!" My sincere apologies. You are right, SMS, I was talking by memory and that's always a risk.

But I keep on my idea. With such a salary and no big relocation expenses or so, that clause is very strange. I understand that company needs a warranty that you are not going to leave soon after they pay lot of money for relocation/training/....

Also you have the danger you mention in last message. If they make your work too hard, and kinda force you to resign.... you are screwed.

I will try to negotiate that clause. At least, make that amount smaller every few months


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