July 2017 Newsletter: Changes to Singapore Labour Environment and more

August 11, 2017 | Evelyn Chow

Changes to Singapore Labour Environment


Raising of the Re-Employment Age to 67

From 1 July, employers are to offer re-employment up to the age of 67.  This applies to Singapore citizens or Singapore permanent residents who have served their current employer for at least 3 years before turning 62, turn 65 on or after 1 July 2017, have satisfactory work performance and are medically fit to continue working.   

Employers may now transfer re-employment obligations to another employer if they are unable to re-employ the employee, subject to the following:   

  • The employee must be willing to accept re-employment with the other employer.

  • The other employer must be willing to take on the existing re-employment obligations for the current employer, including:

    • Being required to offer re-employment to the employee up to age 67.

    • Offering Employment Assistance Payment (EAP) should the employer subsequently be unable to offer re-employment to you up to age 67.

If the employer is unable to continue to employ the older employee or find another employer to take on its re-employment obligations, the employer must offer EAP, this is a one-off payment (equivalent to three months' salary with a minimum of S$4,500 and the new maximum of S$13,000).


Employers need to keep in mind employees who are approaching retirement age of 62 and ensure that they are offered re-employment. If this is not possible with the company, employers could start exploring tying up with other employers who are able to offer re-employment. Provisions for EAP must be made if re-employment is not viable. 


Changes in Leave Entitlements for New Parents

From 1 July 2017, there is an increase in Adoption Leave and shared parental leave.

The statutory leave for mothers with adopted children will be increased from four weeks to 12 weeks.

For the first and second adopted child, the first four weeks of the leave will be paid for by their employers, while the last eight weeks will be funded by the Government. All 12 weeks of leave will be funded by the Government for the third and any subsequent child.

The number of weeks which mothers may share their statutory maternity leave with their working husbands is increased from one to four weeks.


Employers will need to plan for additional resources to minimise impact to business operations. Depending on the skills required and the demographics of the company, planning for either internal or external resources and ensuring adequate time for knowledge transfer is essential.


Publicity and Talent Attraction

An interesting survey was conducted on how bad publicity could impact a company’s ability to attract talent. Bad publicity could potentially result in a lower job offer acceptance rate, fewer referrals from employees and fewer job applications. In addition, it could have an impact on employee morale and result in a decline in sales as well. Click here for the full article from WorldatWork. It is therefore essential that HR works together with Marketing/PR departments to ensure a consistent employer brand in the market and to minimise the impact of bad publicity. 


Quick Tip

Are you spending too much time solving problems escalated by your team?  This Harvard Business Review article -  When to Solve Your Team’s Problems, and When to Let Them Sort It Out by Joseph Grenny - offers insights on dealing with this issue.

5 questions you should ask to help you judge if and how to allow escalations in a way that builds and not weakens your team:

  1. Who should own this problem? Balance the need to solve the present issue with consideration for how the way it is solved will influence future behavior.

  2. Do it now or do it right? Engage those in your team in the process as much as you can so you are more a partner and less the hero.

  3. What is the least I can do? Find the lowest level of initiative for yourself while requiring your team member to act at the highest level they are capable of. 

  4. Content, pattern or relationship?

    Content problems are those where the issue is the immediate concern. Pattern problems exist when the issue is a recurring one. Relationship problems happen when the issue has to do with fundamental concerns about competence, trust, or respect.

    Employees should generally solve most content and pattern problems on their own. 

  5. Have both parties agreed to escalate the issue?

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Tags:   Singapore Labour Environment

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