Companies in Singapore with at least 10 employees will soon be mandated to notify the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) each time they retrench any staff from November 1.
This notification must be filed by employers within five working days after they provide the notice of retrenchment to the affected worked.
Currently, employers only need to notify MOM when they retrench five or more employees within a six-month period.
“The revised notification enables the tripartite partners, Workforce Singapore, the Employment and Employability Institute, as well as other agencies to better reach out to affected local employees to provide employment and job search support,” said MOM.
Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Manpower said that a better way to help jobseekers is to be “notified earlier of when there may be a risk of retrenchment” so that they can execute support measures to help them look for a new job, such as career guidance and coaching.
“By streamlining this and mandating the notification from the first employee to be retrenched … hopefully we can intervene earlier to help each and every single employee who may be facing retrenchment.”
He added that this also helps the employers, because they no longer need to track who is the fifth retrenched employee over the six-month period.
Companies can notify MOM of retrenchments by submitting relevant information via its website, such as the size of workforce before retrenchment and job designation of affected worker. The entire process takes about 10 minutes to complete.
Penalties of up to S$2,000 can be imposed on employers that do not comply with this regulation, which was introduced in 2017.
Unemployment has been on the rise in Singapore
Singapore’s overall unemployment rate has crept higher to 2.8 per cent in July, rising 0.1 percentage points from the previous month, marking the first time unemployment rates rose in 10 months.
This reflects a dip in demand for workers as sectors like food and beverage and retail trade were impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.
Resident unemployment rate – which covers Singaporeans and Permanent Residents – rose by 0.2 percentage points to 3.7 per cent, while citizen unemployment rate climbed 0.2 percentage points to 3.9 per cent. This translates to 87,300 residents unemployed in July, as well as 77,200 citizens.
MOM has attributed the uptick in retrenchments mainly to a small increase in layoffs in the manufacturing and construction sectors.
Economists note that the situation is likely temporary, and that the jobs market is set to recover as Singapore reopens.
Manpower Minister Tan See Leng assured that MOM and Workforce Singapore will continue to support jobseekers and employers to match workers to the available opportunities. Jobseekers can tap on initiatives such as the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package to be placed into jobs and skills opportunities.
Featured Image Credit: Wan Wei