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Help available for those wrongfully dismissed

  • The Straits Times (10 May 2018): Do more to help older S'poreans who were laid off

Help available for those wrongfully dismissed
- The Straits Times, 31 May 2018

  1. We refer to the letter (“Do more to help older S'poreans who were laid off”, 10 May 2018) by Mr Edmund Khoo who raised concerns about forced resignations supressing the number of retrenchments reported.
  2. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) considers forced resignations as wrongful dismissals and will investigate all cases brought to our attention. The incidence of reports regarding forced resignations is low, at less than 3% of termination-related complaints in 2017. Nonetheless, where substantiated, MOM will not hesitate to take employers to task, such as requiring the errant employer to compensate the employee.
  3. Retrenchment data reported by MOM have consistently tracked the state of the economy. The recent reduction in retrenchments aligns with improvements in other economic indicators.
  4. Since Jan 2017, employers have been required to report retrenchment exercises to MOM. This has allowed us to reach out to about 11,000 retrenched employees to offer our assistance.
  5. Through the Adapt and Grow initiative, jobseekers get help with career matching, and are supported by programmes to overcome wage and skill mismatches. In particular, the Career Support Programme and Professional Conversion Programmes provide higher salary support to employers who hire older jobseekers. Last year, these efforts resulted in more than 25,000 placements, with about 30% comprising older workers aged 50 and above.
  6. Employees who have been forced to resign should report the matter to MOM. They can email or call 6438 5122. Jobseekers can contact Workforce Singapore (WSG) at 6883 5885 for assistance.

Then Yee Thoong (Mr)
Divisional Director
Labour Relations and Workplaces Division
Ministry of Manpower

 Do more to help older S'poreans who were laid off
- The Straits Times, 10 May 2018

  1. Preliminary data from the Ministry of Manpower labour market report shows that 1,900 fewer workers lost their jobs in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year, while the seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate of Singapore citizens has stayed at 3 per cent (Retrenchments hit their lowest in nearly seven years; April 28).    
  2. It is not uncommon to hear of employers preferring to pressure workers to resign by making conditions unbearable at the office. Few bosses relish the thought of formally terminating a subordinate, no matter how justifiable the case may be.    
  3. Watching co-workers get laid off has a negative impact on the morale of the remaining staff.
  4. Compelling employees to quit would also mean that internal administrative processes, legal exposure that may arise from dismissing workers and paying costly severance compensation may be avoided.
  5. A publicly listed company that lays off a significant number of its workforce in one fell swoop may also shake the confidence of investors and shareholders.
  6. With more companies resisting the issuance of official termination notices, retrenchments are understandably at their lowest since the third quarter of 2011.
  7. In spite of the somewhat encouraging statistics, the number of people out of work may also be under-reported as past writers to the Forum, like Mr Simon Owen Khoo have pointed out (Unemployment numbers may be higher than thought; May 12, 2017).
  8. The Government has to do more for unemployed Singaporeans, especially those who are older.