International Society of Primerus Law Firms

Increased Protection for Existing and Additional Classes of Employees under the Employment (Amendment) Act 2018

HJM Asia Law & Co LLC
Guangzhou, China

On November 20th, 2018, the Members of Parliament approved the Employment (Amendment) Act 2018, which will take effect in April 2019. Under the expanded Employment Act, the salary cap has been removed. Therefore, all employees (except public servants, domestic workers and seafarers, who are covered separately under other laws) receiving a salary exceeding SGD 4,500 a month will be regarded as an employee for the purposes of the Employment Act and thus will be entitled to the core provisions of the law, such as:

  1. Paid annual leave;
  2. Paid public holiday and sick leave;
  3. Timely payment of salary; and
  4. Protection against wrongful dismissal.

The Employment (Amendment) Act 2018 also extends the application of Part IV of the Employment Act on Rest Day, Hours of Work and Other Conditions of Employment to non-workmen earning a salary of up to SGD 2,600 a month (in contrast to the previous SGD 2,500), a move that brings another 100,000 workers under Part IV protection. In addition, the overtime rate payable for non-workmen is now capped at SGD 2,600 a month. This means that Part IV will now apply to the following employees:

  1. Workmen earning up to SGD 4,500 a month; and
  2. Non-workmen earning up to SGD 2,600 a month.

In addition, under the new law, the employer must now recognize medical certificates issued by any registered doctor or dentist.

For work on public holidays, employers can now offer time off for hours worked on a public holiday, instead of a full day off or an extra day’s salary. This will apply to all:

  1. Managers and executives;
  2. Workmen earning above SGD 4,500 a month; and
  3. Non-workmen earning above $2,600 a month.

In addition, employers can now make salary deductions in the following instances:

  1. For specific reasons under the Employment Act; and
  2. When written consent is obtained from employees, provided that employees can withdraw their consent any time, without penalty.

Finally, wrongful dismissal claims and salary-related claims will now both be heard at the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management/Employment Claims Tribunals. Even managers and executives can now seek help with the Employee Claims Tribunals if they have served the employer for at least six (6) months. This will give both employees and employers a more convenient one-stop service.


The general information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.

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