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Must an employer pay for sending an Employment Pass or S Pass holder home?

All employers who wish to bring in foreign employees are required to bear the full costs of employing them, including the cost of repatriation. This includes the flight ticket, pre-departure tests and connecting transport costs, if any, to the international port of entry in your foreign employee’s home country nearest to their hometown. Unless the pass holder gives consent, the employer is responsible for sending an Employment Pass or S Pass holder home at the end of employment.

If consent is given, it has to explicitly state that the pass holder agrees to pay for repatriation costs. The pass holder must sign the document to acknowledge consent.

A clause in the employment contract would suffice if the contract is signed by the pass holder. However, a clause in the company’s HR policy may not suffice if the pass holder does not sign the document.

In response to Covid-19, we understand that many countries have introduced different public health protocols, e.g. quarantine and swab tests. There are different practices in different countries, some Governments will bear the costs for their returning citizens, while others require returning citizens to pay for these expenses.

Employers are not required to pay any costs incurred for public health arrangements in the foreign employee’s home countries. However, where there are requests from their foreign employees, they should discuss with their employees and come to a mutual agreement on such costs to fulfil their legal obligation in repatriating their employees, and to avoid any delays in employees returning to their home countries.

Employers should settle all outstanding obligations, such as salary payments, before the employee leaves Singapore.