Singapore’s Employment Act has been updated for the first time since 1995. The significant changes that have been introduced are to keep pace with a changing labour market, a growing number of white–collar workers and rising salaries. The new labour laws, which came into effect on 1 January 2009, offer basic benefits and standards such as salary protection, minimum employment terms and a dispute mechanism.
The Employment Act’s scope of coverage has been expanded in many ways, such as to include all workers with a monthly salary ceiling of USD 2,000, up from USD 1,600. The revision on the coverage was made to keep pace with changes in the workforce profile. The Employment Act removed the exclusion of ‘confidential staff’, such as accounts assistants, human resource clerks and secretaries, so that these are now entitled to basic employment benefits. For the first time, junior executives and managers earning up to a maximum of $2,500 a month have access to the Labour Court for salary claims. Besides offering greater protection to workers, such new rules balance the interests of employers and employees.Business Law Review