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FAQs on salary and leave arrangements

Employers and employees can find out more about salary and leave arrangement after Circuit Breaker period.

For employers

My company can't resume operations and our revenue is badly affected. Do I still need to pay my employees?Show


With the various government assistance available, your company should continue to pay your employees baseline salaries during this period.

If you need to implement cost-saving measures, you should engage and mutually agree with unions and your employees on the appropriate salary and leave arrangement.

What should I take into account if I need to change my local employees' salaries?Show

The Government has provided various assistance to support businesses during this period. This includes substantial wage support through the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) to help employers retain and pay employees.

If you can’t resume operations, you should still continue to pay baseline salaries to your employees.

The baseline salary may vary across employers due to different financial position and business prospects.

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

What should I do if I need to change my employees' salary or working hours, or if I'm unable to come to an agreement with them?Show

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

If you can’t reach an agreement with your employees:

  • The initial contractual terms and conditions must remain unchanged.
  • You or your employees can serve notice and end the employment relationship.

You are not allowed to change the employment terms and conditions without your 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, where possible (e.g. electronic signature).

Can my employees apply for sick leave during their no-pay leave that's part of cost-saving measures?Show

No. Employees can’t apply for paid sick leave if they fall sick during no-pay leave or any other non-working day, e.g. public holiday or annual leave.

Company implements 1 day no-pay leave per week.

Employee agree to take no-pay leave on all Mondays.

If employee take 2 days sick leave on Monday and Tuesday, it is counted as only 1 day of paid sick leave for Tuesday.

As your employee agreed to cost-saving measures to support your company, as an employer, you are encouraged to exercise compassion and reimburse any medical consultation fees.

Can I ask my employees to take annual leave in advance as part of cost-saving measures if they don't have enough leave balance this year?Show

You should only ask your employees to clear their annual leave if your employees’ salary is below the prevailing salary after you have considered the JSS payout.

If your employees don’t have enough annual leave, you should be flexible and compassionate in granting time-off or other leave arrangements, e.g. childcare leave, sick leave, etc.

If they’ve fully used their annual leave, you can ask your employees to take annual leave in advance, capped at 1 year’s worth of leave entitlements.

To prevent misunderstandings or disputes, you should discuss and mutually agree with your employees on the possible situations. For example:

  • Whether your employees will be given additional leave if the business recover in the following year.
  • Whether your employees can choose not to take annual leave in advance, e.g. take no-pay leave instead.
  • How their advance leave will be treated if they resign or are dismissed.

As an employer, you should act responsibly and fairly, especially for lower wage employees, such as those who qualify for Workfare Income Supplement (earning $2,300 or less).

My employees cannot return to the workplace because MOH ordered us to be closed to break any potential chain of transmission. What working arrangements can be made for my employees during the workplace closure?Show

You may ask your employees to work from home during the period of workplace closure.

If working from home is not possible, employers are encouraged to provide additional paid leave to cover the period of absence.

You may also mutually agree with your employees on other salary and leave arrangements.

For employees

Can my employer put me on no-pay leave or ask me to clear my annual leave as part of the company's cost-saving measures even though I'm able to work from home?Show

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

To manage cost pressures and conserve manpower for when they are most needed, your employer may ask you to clear some of your paid annual leave when there are less business activities. Your employer should get your support and understanding to help their business get ready for business resumption.

Your employers should discuss with you (or your union) and agree on the salary and leave adjustments.

I agreed to salary adjustments as part of cost-saving measures. Can I still take childcare leave?Show

Yes, you can take childcare leave if you are eligible. You will be paid based on your adjusted salary.

Can I file a wrongful dismissal claim if my company terminates my employment despite receiving government support such as JSS?Show

If your employer had implemented a cost cutting exercise and the majority of the employees have agreed to fair wage reductions to preserve their jobs, but you disagree, then your employer can terminate your employment contract. This would not constitute as a wrongful reason for termination.

In this case, you employer must give due notice or pay in lieu of notice, and fulfil all other contractual obligations, before ending the employment relationship.

Can my employer retrench me even though they are getting government support such as JSS?Show

Yes, despite their efforts and the JSS support, some employers could still have their operations and business prospects adversely affected and will need to make adjustments to their businesses to stay viable, including retrenchment. Retrenchment is the termination of employees due to redundancy, i.e. employer has no plans to fill the vacancy any time soon.

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

What should I do if I've more questions on my salary and leave arrangement?Show

You should clarify with your supervisor or HR representative regarding your salary and leave arrangements.

If you have more queries or if you are seeking advice on cost savings measures by your employer which affected your salary or leave arrangements, you can contact us through online feedback.