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Managing Employees (5 of 6): Handling Dismissals

You may find that at some point you have to dismiss an employee for unacceptable behaviour or conduct. Avoid potential legal complications by making sure that you handle the situation properly and professionally.


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Published by Enterprise Singapore
on 14 Oct 2019

Unacceptable Reasons for Dismissal under Singapore Law

  • You cannot terminate Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents on the grounds of age if they are below the retirement age which currently is 62.
  • You cannot dismiss a female employee who is away from work on statutory maternity leave. Otherwise you can be fined or even possibly face imprisonment. This rule does not apply to the last 4 weeks of the 12-week maternity period if your employee has chosen to take these last 4 weeks flexibly and over a period of time.
  • If you dismiss a female employee within 3 months of her delivery date, you may still be liable to pay her maternity benefits if the dismissal was without sufficient cause.

See:    Retirement and Re-employment Act

Statutory Maternity Leave

 

What You Must Do When Dismissing an Employee

  • Make sure that you have dismissal provisions in your employment agreement or contract.
  • You should pay attention to:
    • notice period for termination
    • payment of salary and balance annual leave up to the date of termination
    • payment of salary in lieu of notice
  • Follow the proper termination procedures and ensure that the dismissal is fair and legally correct.
  • If the employee is covered under the Employment Act, you must follow the terms and conditions in the Act. The Act spells out clearly the notice period, the payment of salary and right to terminate without notice.

 

Abandonment of Employment

  • Your contract should include terms that allow you to terminate an employee immediately because he/she has abandoned their employment.
  • You will still need to pay the employee but only up to the last day of employment.
  • If your employee comes under the Employment Act and is absent for more than 2 days, you may terminate his/her employment immediately. The employee must also reimburse you the salary in lieu of notice.

 

Paying Wages If Employee Didn't Serve His/Her Notice

  • Your employment contracts should also include terms related to the payment of wages.
    • If an employee does not serve notice but falls under the Employment Act, he/she must pay salary in lieu of notice.
    • If an employer terminates an employee without the required notice period, the employer must pay a salary in lieu of notice.

See:   Drafting Employment Contracts

 

Actions Employees May Take Against You

  • If an employee feels he/she has been wrongfully dismissed, he/she can sue you for breach of contract
  • If he/she is protected under the Employment Act, he/she can also lodge an appeal with the Minister of Manpower to get his/her job back. The appeal must be lodged within 1 month of the dismissal.

See:    Handling Employee Disputes

Termination of Employment

 

Last Modified Date: 14 Oct 2019