Singapore’s Parliament has passed changes to the Employment Act during its sitting on 17 August 2015.
The amendments will now require employers to issue itemised payslips and key employment terms (KETs) within the next two years.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) intends to effect these new requirements on 1 April 2016.
However, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say told Parliament that in view of the feedback from small businesses, MOM will give a one-year grace period in its enforcement.
This means that from April 2016 to end-March 2017, MOM will take a light touch enforcement approach and focus on educating smaller employers on how to comply with the changes.
Welcoming the move, NTUC Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) Patrick Tay said the amendments will have a positive impact on workers in Singapore.
ASG Tay said he particularly welcomed the move to mandate employers to provide itemised payslips to all their employees together with their salary payments.
“A clear itemised payslip, written employment contract with key provisions and well-kept employee records will help minimise acrimonious disputes, long legal tussles, miscommunication, stress, time and monies,” said ASG Tay.
Also lending support was NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Zainal Sapari, Director of the NTUC Care and Share Centre.
“Without itemised payslips and KETs, it makes it very challenging for unions and advocacy arms like NTUC U Care Centre to gather information when workers come to us to seek redress on workplace grievance on issues like salary disputes or job expectations,” he shared.
Employers will also be required to keep complete and accurate employee records for a prescribed period of time.
Areas Of Attention
While all these augur well for the workforce, ASG Tay urged the Manpower Ministryto look into education and enforcement for the changes.
In the area of education, he suggested the Ministry work out handy guides in a variety of languages, set-up a hotline, operate one-stop service centres and undertake various channels of outreach to ensure all employers are correctly educated.
He also felt the Ministry’s enforcement capability has to be augmented and enhanced to ensure strict compliance of the new set of laws.
ASG Zainal added that from NTUC’s engagement with workers, those in part-time employment are also largely affected due to their lack of knowledge of their employment terms.
He hopes employers who hire part-timers also provide them with itemised pay slips and key employment terms in writing.