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Employment Conditions

General

Employee records

Employers must keep records of the following items of each employee:

  • Personal details (name, address, date of birth, gender, NRIC (if a citizen) or foreign identification number
  • Employment start date
  • Employment end date
  • Hours worked each day, including meal and other breaks
  • Dates and details of public holidays and other leaves taken
  • Itemised payslip

Employers should keep these records for two years for current employees and further one year following an employee's departure.

Grievance procedure

Employers must document the employee's shortcomings and address them during performance reviews before dismissing them based on performance. In case of misconduct, employers must carry out a formal inquiry, issue a formal warning or disciplinary action before proceeding with the termination.

Deductions

Employers are only allowed to make deductions from employee's salary for the following reasons:

  • CPF contributions
  • Absence of work (for monthly-rated employees)
  • Damage or loss of money or goods (one-time lump sum not exceeding 25% of monthly salary)
  • Providing accommodation, which the employee has accepted
  • Supplying amenities and services that have been taken by the employee and authorized by the Commissioner for Labour (not exceeding 25% of monthly salary)
  • Recovering advances, loans, overpaid salary or unearned employment benefits

Employers may deduct payments to registered co-operative societies, for subscriptions and entrance fees from employee's salary, only if they have the employee's written consent, which can be withdrawn at any time. For any other fixed deductions, details must be included in the contract.

Intellectual property (IP)

An employer owns all IP rights that its employees create in their employment, including the creation of literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, unless agreed otherwise.

Including express provisions to IP rights in the employment contract is highly advisable.

Career Development

Many companies offer training time, including tech workshops, paid conferences, professional training allowance and subscriptions for employees to stay up to date and progress in their career.

Restrictive covenants

It is generally permissible to restrict an employee's activities during employment. However, clauses curtailing an employee's actions after the employment ends are unenforceable unless the employer proves the following three criteria:

  • The restriction protects a legitimate proprietary interest. The employer's desire to eliminate competition, for instance, is less likely to be a legitimate proprietary interest than its desire to maintain a stable workforce
  • The restriction is reasonable to the employer and employee. Relevant factors include the duration of the limitation and the range of activities that are restricted
  • The restriction is appropriate to the public interest

In general, a restriction on not soliciting customers is easier to enforce than one against joining a competitor. Restrictive covenants should be drafted very carefully.

Non-competition restrictions are appropriate only for:

  • senior management
  • employees with access to highly confidential information
  • employees who can exert significant influence over customers and other employees, where their departure and abuse of information can impact the employer's legitimate business interests negatively

There are no specific statutory requirements for an employer to continue paying a former employee subject to post-employment restrictive covenants.

This page was last updated on 26th January, 2021. If you have questions about this page, send us an email.