What are common errors in the area of non-compliance with labour legislation?
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.
- 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.
- 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].
- 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.
- 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].
- Requiring a male employee to be confirmed to qualify for 2 weeks 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].
- 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.