The Singapore Employment Act (EA) was enacted in the year 1968 and aims at providing basic employment benefits like minimum employment terms, salary protection and resolution of disputes for certain categories of employees (Kuruvilla, Erickson & Hwang, 2002). Additionally, it also puts forth the fundamental rights and obligations enjoyed by both employers and employees along with shaping the responsibilities and harmonizing the interests of the parties involved. The first major review of the Employment Act was conducted in the year 2008, which became effective from January 1, 2009 (Channel News Asia, 2013).
It made certain changes so as to extend a greater amount of protection to the vulnerable employee groups by making them eligible for most of the benefits. Although these changes were quite applicable during that period, a significant evolution in the profile of today’ s workforce has made the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) realize the need for another review to the Employment Act so as to maintain the pertinence of the statute along with being responsive to the changing workforce profile. MOM aims to conduct the current EA review in 2 phases.
Phase 1 will extend from Nov 2012 till the first quarter of 2013 and will include an extension of EA’ s coverage, improvements in the standard of employment as well as employee benefits and augmenting the flexibility of EA for employers (Channel News Asia, 2013). Phase two is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2013 and will encompass more complicated issues such as enhanced protection for employees in non-traditional arrangements of work like self-employment and contract workers and providing an improved mechanism for dispute resolution between employers and employees.
The MOM has been working in close association with The Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) as well as National Trade Unions Congress (NTUC), representatives of the employers and employees respectively (Channel News Asia, 2013). It is important for the Ministry to take into account the views of both the involved parties and to observe probable reactions from them on the various policy issues (Nyaw & Chan-leong, 1982).
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