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FAQs on salary and leave arrangements during Circuit Breaker

Employers and employees can find out more about your salary and leave arrangement during the Circuit Breaker period.

My company was required to suspend operations during the Circuit Breaker period, how should I treat employees who have less than 3 months of service, e.g. joined in Feb 2020?Show

The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) provides wage support to employers, helping them retain local employees during this period of economic uncertainty. The JSS payment goes to the employer based on the eligible employees in his company and the employer has the discretion on how best to use the JSS payout to support his entire workforce.

In some cases, this could entail spreading out the payout to cover wages for all local employees, including those who have less than 3 months in service.

With the enhanced Jobs Support Scheme payout, what is the baseline salary that I should pay my local employees?Show

With the 75% wage support through the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) for April and May 2020, employers should continue paying baseline salaries to employees who are unable to work due to the suspension of business activities during the Circuit Breaker period.

The baseline salary may vary across employers due to different financial position and business prospects. For example, an employer who continues to be financially healthy may give a non-working employee salary + CPF contribution equivalent to the enhanced JSS payout for May (i.e. 75% of one month of wage).

Employers should discuss with unions and employees and come to an agreement on the salary and work arrangements, with special consideration for lower wage employees.

What are employers expected to do if they are unable to come to an agreement with their employees on adjustments to salary/working hours?Show

If the terms and conditions of an employment contract need to be changed, both employers and employees should negotiate and try to reach an acceptable agreement, taking into consideration business needs and the employee’s concerns.

In the event that no agreement can be reached, the initial contractual terms and conditions must remain unchanged but either party can serve notice and end the employment relationship.

Employers cannot make changes to the employment terms and conditions without the employee’s consent. To prevent misunderstandings or disputes, a written agreement with the new terms and conditions clearly stated, whether temporary or permanent, should be signed.

My company had already implemented cost-saving measures before the Government announced enhancements to the JSS. Can my company continue with this arrangement?Show

Employers whose business had been severely affected prior to the Circuit Breaker measures and had implemented cost-saving measures should review their measures taking into consideration the additional support provided by the Government.

Employers and employees should discuss and mutually agree on an arrangement to support the company’s survival and ensure that jobs are preserved.

My company is unable to operate during the Circuit Breaker period and is not collecting any revenue. Do I still need to pay my employees?Show

Yes.

Your company should use the enhanced Government support to continue to pay your employees during this period.

My employer will be receiving payouts from the Jobs Support Scheme. Can my employer reduce my salary, put me on no-pay leave or ask me to clear my annual leave during the Circuit Breaker period?Show

You and your employer should discuss and mutually agree on salary and leave arrangements, taking reference from the Advisory for salary and leave arrangements during Circuit Breaker.

Employers should not reduce your salary or put you on no-pay leave or annual leave, without consulting you (or your union if you're unionised).

Employers should act responsibly and fairly.

Similarly, as an employee, you should also be prepared to share some of the cost burden of your employer to help preserve jobs during this period.

If you think your employer didn't implement cost-saving measures responsibly and fairly in line with the tripartite advisories, you can provide us with the key facts for MOM's assessment.

I resigned and left the company before the announcement of the enhanced Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), can I file a claim for the JSS payout from my company?Show

The intent of the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) is to maintain jobs rather than provide cash to employees. As such, the cash grant goes to the employers to help them remain afloat and to retain their local employees.

If your company has fulfilled their contractual obligations, e.g. annual leave encashment, notice pay, etc, you would not be able to file a claim against the company.

Can I file a wrongful dismissal claim if my company terminates my employment despite receiving the Jobs Support Scheme payout?Show

If your employer decides to end the employment relationship because there was no mutual agreement on the adjustments to salary and/or working arrangements, your employer is required to give due notice or pay in lieu of notice.

If all contractual obligations are fulfilled, e.g. annual leave encashment, notice pay, etc, it would not constitute as a wrongful reason for termination.

You can refer to the Tripartite Guidelines on Wrongful Dismissal for more information on what constitutes a wrongful dismissal.

Can my employer retrench me even though he is getting the Jobs Support Scheme payouts?Show

Some employers, despite their efforts and the JSS support, could still have their operations and business prospects adversely affected and will need to make adjustments to their businesses to stay viable, including to retrench part of their workforce due to redundancy.

Redundancy is a valid reason for employment termination. If you are retrenched due to redundancy, your employer should still fulfill their contractual obligations, e.g. annual leave encashment, notice pay, retrenchment benefit, etc.

Can I use my childcare leave entitlements during the Circuit Breaker period? If my employer introduced cost-saving measures, would my childcare leave be based on the revised salary?Show

Eligible employees should be entitled to take childcare leave during the Circuit Breaker period.

However, there may be instances when your employer is not able to grant your leave request due to work. You should let your employer know as early as possible of your childcare leave plans so they can better accommodate them.

As a statutory benefit, employers should pay eligible employees based on their prevailing salary and where applicable, can seek reimbursement for Government-paid childcare leave. This would also be factored in for the enhanced JSS support by the Government.

If employees have insufficient paid childcare leave, employers are encouraged to be flexible and supportive of employees’ needs during this period.