FAQs

Common Errors in Preparing a CA

Q: What are common errors in the area of non-compliance with labour legislation?

A: The common errors are:

Wrong Titles/Sections of Act

  • The clause cites the wrong section of the legislation or the wrong Act title, e.g. Section 42 instead of Section 43 of the Industrial Relations Act with respect to appointment of Referee, and Retirement Age Act instead of Retirement and Re-Employment Act, and Children Development Co-Savings Act instead of Child Development Co-Savings Act.


Allowances

  • Excluding allowances besides travelling, food and housing allowances when determining gross rate of pay for payment of annual leave, medical leave etc. Section 2(1)of Employment Act provides that all allowances should be included except for the 3 specified.


Work on a rest day

  • Paying for work on a rest day (at the employer's request) at double the hourly basic rate of pay. Under Section 37(3) of Employment Act, the employee should be paid :
    • a sum at the basic rate of pay for one day's work where the period of work does not exceed half his normal hours of work,
    • a sum at the basic rate of pay for 2 days' work where the period of work is more than half but does not exceed his normal hours of work, and
    • where the period of work exceeds his normal hours of work, the employee should be paid for 2 days' work at the basic rate of pay and a sum at the rate of not less than 1½ times his hourly basic rate of pay for each hour or part thereof worked in excess of his normal hours of work.


Public Holidays

  • Paying for gazetted public holidays at the basic rate of pay instead of the gross rate of pay [Section 88 of Employment Act].
  • Where the employee works on a public holiday at the employer’s request, paying him only for the number of hours worked instead of for one whole day’s work.


Retirement and Re-Employment

  • Requiring employees to meet more than 2 criteria to be eligible for re-employment when they need to meet only 2 criteria under Section 7(1)(b) of the Retirement and Re-Employment Act (RRA).


  • Requiring employees to have good work performance and/or good conduct, and to be certified medically fit to continue working. Under the RRA they need only to have satisfactory work performance and be medically fit to continue working. The employee should be assumed to be medically fit unless there are reasons to suggest otherwise. There is no need for him to be certified medically fit or medically examined.


  • Employment Assistant Payment (EAP) calculated based on basic rate of pay instead of gross rate of pay. [Section 7C(4) of Retirement and Re-Employment Act and Tripartite Guidelines on Re-employment of Older Employees 2011].


Annual Leave

  • Not allowing annual leave to be carried forward to the next year or imposing conditions for carrying forward of leave. Under Section 43(6) of Employment Act, employees are allowed to carry forward the annual leave that they have earned during 12 months of continuous service for up to 12 months after the end of that period, without any conditions.


Sick Leave

  • Granting paid sick leave only to confirmed employees where the CA provides for a probationary period of more than 3 months or where the probationary period may be extended beyond 3 months. Under Section 89(1) and 89(2) of Employment Act, all employees who have served an employer for at least 3 months are entitled to paid sick leave.
  • Granting paid sick leave only for sick leave issued by the company doctor, when sick leave issued by a government medical officer should also be allowed [Section 89(1) of Employment Act].
  • Paying for sick leave at the gross rate of pay excluding shift allowance. In fact, shift allowance should be excluded only when the employee is on outpatient sick leave, and included when the employee is on hospitalisation leave. [Section 89(5) of Employment Act].
  • Requiring the employee to submit the sick leave certificate within 48 hours of commencement of leave, when he is required only to inform or attempt to inform the employer that he is on sick leave within that period [Section 89(4)].


Dental Sick Leave

  • Allowing an employee only paid outpatient sick leave for sick leave issued by a dentist, when he is entitled also to paid hospitalisation leave [Section 89(1) and Section 2(1) of Employment Act].


Paternity Leave

  • Requiring a male employee to be confirmed to qualify for 1 week of government-paid paternity leave under the Child Development Co-Savings Act, when he needs only to have worked for the employer for at least 3 months continuously in addition to meeting other criteria, viz he is lawfully married to the child’s mother and his child is a Singapore citizen at the time of birth.

Childcare Leave and Extended Childcare Leave

  • Requiring an employee to be confirmed to qualify for paid childcare leave under the Child Development Co-Savings Act when he/she needs only to have worked for the employer for a continuous period of at least 3 months. In addition, there is no requirement for the child’s parents to be lawfully married.
  • Granting 2 days’ government-paid extended childcare leave to an employee whose child is a Singapore citizen aged 7 years and above and below the age of 12 when the employee’s child should be aged 7 years and above and below the age of 13 [Section 12B(1A) of Child Development Co-Savings Act].


Inconsistent Provisions

  • The provisions in the same or different clauses of the CA which are governed by the labour laws contradict each other e.g. one clause states that employees who complete 3 months' of service are entitled to 60 days of sick leave (if hospitalisation is necessary) whereas another clause states that those with 3, 4 and 5 months' service are entitled to 15, 30 and 45 days' sick leave respectively.


Q: What are common errors in the area of non-compliance with requirements for a legal document and IAC's other requirements?

A: The common errors are:


Legal Requirements

  • The CA does not bear the signatures of all the parties to the CA e.g. where there are 2 employers named in the Preamble and the CA is signed by a representative of only one of the employers.
  • The CA bears the signature of only one witness instead of two, i.e. one witness each from the employer and the union.


Completeness

  • Missing information e.g. an Appendix referred to in a CA clause is not included.
  • The CA contains an Appendix which is not referred to in the main body of the CA.
  • The title of the CA as stated in the Appendix does not tally with that stated in the agreement, eg Appendix states 'XXX Employees' Agreement of 2011', whereas the title of the CA is 'XXX Employees' Agreement of 2014'.
  • Gaps or repetitions in the numbering of clauses, sub-clauses, etc., e.g. Clause 12 is followed by Clause 14, or other instances of incorrect numbering e.g. first paragraph is numbered (d) instead of (a).


Administrative Requirements

  • Title of the CA contains a different year from the year in which the CA is signed eg XXX Employees’ Agreement of 2013 instead of 2014 when the agreement is made in 2014.
  • ASCA of the previous CA was not used as the basis for preparing the new CA.

Using Approved Softcopy of Collective Agreement (ASCA)

Q: The parties have an existing CA and are discussing the next CA. Why must they use the Approved Softcopy of Collective Agreement for the existing CA as the basis for preparing the next CA?

A: The ASCA for the existing CA must be used as it meets IAC’s required format for gazetting purposes, incorporates all past amendments made to past editions of the CA, and allows instant detection of any new changes made.


Q: How can the parties determine which is the latest ASCA version from IAC?

A: The parties should refer to the number shown in the footer of the ASCA. For example, ‘ASCA (F151112)’ indicates that the file was updated by an officer with initial ‘F’on 15 Nov 12.


Q: The parties have misplaced the latest ASCA and need it to prepare the next CA. How can they obtain another copy?

A: The parties may, as a last resort, request for a copy by email to iac_enquiry@iac.gov.sg.


Q: What points should the parties note when using the ASCA, duly amended, to print the CA for signature?

A: The parties should ensure that:

  • Each page of the CA is numbered as 'Page _ of _'
  • The printed CA should not display the header 'Please switch on the Track Changes feature when working on the document' nor any side markings or comments
  • Each page of the CA should be printed single-sided


Q: What points should the parties note when sending the softcopy of the new CA to IAC before the original printed signed CA is lodged?

A: The parties should ensure that:

  • The softcopy reflects all changes made to the ASCA of the current CA
  • The softcopy sent is the same one used to print the new CA for signing
  • The softcopy of the new CA is emailed to iac_enquiry@iac.gov.sg at least 2 days before lodgement of the printed signed CA
  • The party who emailed the softcopy to IAC states his name, designation, organisation and phone no. to facilitate contact by IAC.

Amending a CA

Q: When can a Collective Agreement (CA) be amended?

A: A CA can be amended before it has been certified by the President or Dy President of the Court. After certification, the CA can only be amended through an application to IAC by the union and/or employer for a Variation Order.


Q: Who can amend a CA?

A: The CA can be amended by the signatories to the agreement viz the representatives of the union and the employer. One signatory from the employer and one from the union will have to sign against the amendments (including deletions) made to show their consent to the changes.


Q: In what circumstances does IAC require amendments to be made to a CA?

A: The CA must comply with the Industrial Relations Act and other labour laws, e.g. Employment Act, Child Development and Co-Savings Act etc. It must also comply with requirements for a legally binding document and IAC's administrative requirements. Finally, the CA must not contain any other major errors or omissions. The IAC will ask the parties to amend the CA if any of the above requirements are not met.


Q: How will the parties be informed of amendments required by IAC?

A: The IAC will send a letter to both parties informing them of the changes to be made where there are few or simple changes. Otherwise, IAC will invite the parties for a meeting to explain the changes to be made.


Q: How can a clause or clauses of a CA be amended?

A: The parties should:

  • Delete (in ink) the affected word(s), phrase(s) or clause(s) in the original copy of the CA.
  • Replace them with the correct words, phrases or clauses, which may be hand-written, or typed on a separate slip of paper and pasted at the side of the clauses to be replaced.
  • The signatories should affix their signatures near the changes made, including the deletions.
  • Where a separate slip of paper is attached to the original page, the signatories should sign in 2 places - next to the original words, phrases, clauses which have been deleted, and on the slip of paper with the new words, phrases, clauses.


Q: How can the CA be amended if the entire clause(s) is (are) deleted and not replaced?

A: The parties may strike through the clause(s), insert the phrase "[Deleted]" next to the clause number and sign against the changes made. In this case, the remaining clauses in the CA do not need to be re-numbered. Alternatively, the parties may strike through the clause(s) including the clause number(s) and renumber the remaining clauses. The parties should sign against all the clause numbers that have been changed. The parties should also ensure that all subsequent clauses are numbered correctly and that cross-references, if any, are made to the re-numbered clauses and not the old clauses. If the clause re-numbering affects many pages, the parties may replace the affected pages, as explained in the answer to the next question.


Q: How can amendment be done if there are many changes to be made on the same page, or many pages to be amended?

A: The parties may replace the affected page(s) with the amended page(s), which must be signed by the signatories on each page. The original page(s) do not have to be returned to IAC. However, if the original page(s) are returned to IAC, the parties must first strike through the page and sign against the line striking through the page(s). Where there are extensive changes to the CA, the parties should also send the amended softcopy of the CA to IAC at iac_enquiry@iac.gov.sg


Q: How can the employer and union avoid having to amend the CA?

A: If the parties exercise due care and diligence in preparing the CA, checking it for compliance with all the labour laws, requirements for a legal document, IAC’s administrative requirements, and that the CA does not contain any other major errors and omissions, they will not need to amend the CA. There are many CAs submitted to the IAC which do not require amendment.