This article is a contribution piece by NTUC U PME. Any extracts should be attributed to the author. 12 May 2023.
Mdm Chin (not her real name), 64, spent the last two decades working as an administrative officer in a medium-size construction company.
She started working for the company back in 2002. Beyond her daily administrative duties, she also performed certain public relations duties for the company.
Two decades went by mostly uneventfully. Then, on 6 March 2023, she was called into a meeting with the human resource (HR) department.
Upon entering the office, she found herself face-to-face with the boss of the company and the HR manager.
They informed Mdm Chin that her services were no longer required and issued her a termination letter together with one month’s notice.
No definitive reason was given regarding her dismissal.
She tried to reason with her employer and HR manager, explaining that she had given her all for the last 20 years, and that she had been loyal to the company throughout her time there.
But all her pleas fell on deaf ears. She recounted that her employer even used profanities on her before asking her to leave the office.
With no one to turn to, she became despondent and depressed, worried about how she was going to cope with the job loss and support herself.
Approaching U PME
After she had collected herself, she remembered she was an NTUC member. As her company was a non-unionised company, she decided to make an appointment with U PME to see if they could assist her in her situation.
Mdm Chin was linked up with U PME Consultant Herjeet Singh who took on her case. He informed her there was a case to fight for as her employer had neither offered her a re-employment contract, nor did they offer her any employment assistance payment (EAP).
He further explained to her that her case was under the purview of the Retirement and Re-employment Act (RRA), which stipulates that employers must offer re-employment to eligible employees who turn 63, up to the age of 68.
Herjeet immediately called up the company’s HR manager to inform the company that they were in violation of the RRA.
After further discussion, the company agreed to pay Mdm Chin an EAP, and they also allowed her to encash the remaining balance of annual leave she had with the company.
Herjeet also reminded the employer to refrain from using profanities when dealing with staff, and to treat all employees fairly – especially when dealing with sensitive situations such as dismissals.
Win Some, Lose Some
Even though Mdm Chin lost her job of nearly 20 years, she was very grateful and thankful to U PME for the help rendered to her.
She emphatically said that without the intervention of U PME, her employer would have avoided paying her of her dues without any repercussion.
Herjeet said: “Employees must remember that they are accorded certain protections under the Employment Act; the ball is not always in the court of the employers.
“If you ever find yourself caught in a similar situation like Mdm Chin, reach out to us and we will do our utmost to assist you with your employment woes.”
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