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Transfer of employment

Your employer can transfer your employment to another company because of restructuring. The new employer will take over your contract of service on the existing terms.

What is a transfer

Your employer has the right to transfer you to another employer if the organisation is being restructured. A restructuring can involve a merger, take-over, sale of parts of the company or setting up a subsidiary company.

You may be transferred to a related company such as a subsidiary, or to a totally unrelated company.

Your terms or conditions of employment will remain the same, unless you agree to change them.

The following are not transfers:

  • Transfer of assets only.
  • Transfer of shares.
  • Transfer of operations outside Singapore.
  • Outsourcing of supporting functions.
  • Incoming service provider takes over an outgoing service provider during competitive tendering.

Your rights during a transfer

You have the right to:

  • Be notified of the transfer and of matters relating to the transfer.
  • Be given the opportunity to consult your employer.
  • Preserve the original terms and conditions of employment under the new employer.

You have the obligation to serve the new employer in the same way as with your original employer.

Employer's obligations

Your employer is required to:

  • Notify the affected employees or their union of the impending transfer within a reasonable time.
  • Inform affected employees about the terms of transfer, so that they or their union can hold consultations with the company.
  • Ensure that there is no break in employment during the transfer.
  • Ensure terms of employment are not less favourable after the transfer.

New employer's obligations

The employer taking over transferred employees is required to:

  • Inform the previous employer of matters that will affect employees, so they can inform employees within a reasonable period.
  • Take over the previous employer’s rights, powers, duties and liabilities which are part of any contract or agreement with the employees’ union before the transfer.
  • Keep unchanged any terms or conditions of employment for the transferred employees, unless the transferred employees agree to a change.

Disputes during a transfer

If disputes happen, you and your employer should negotiate the terms of the transfer.

If you cannot agree to new terms, both of you have the right to terminate employment with notice.

Either party can also refer disagreements to the Commissioner for Labour, who is empowered to:

  • Delay or prohibit the transfer of the employee concerned.
  • Order the transfer of the employee and set terms that are considered just.