The Law of Dismissal of Employees in Singapore

The Law of Dismissal of Employees in Singapore
Fee for Face-to-Face (Excludes 9% GST) $550
Fee for Virtual (Excludes 9% GST) $550
Duration 1 Day
Skills Future Credit No
Upcoming Workshops 16 Jul 2024
23 Aug 2024
12 Sep 2024

As of 1 April, 2019, professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) are now covered under the Employment Act and may seek redress against wrongful and unfair dismissal by their employers with the Tripartite Alliance of Dispute Management (TADM). The treatment of this category of employee would now be quite similar to the rank and file employees who are covered under the Employment Act.

Given the above, there are two broad categories of employees in Singapore. The first being the non-executive level, second the PMEs. The treatment of dismissing, whether with notice or without notice for the two broad categories of employees, differ slightly. For human resource practitioners who used the same approach in dismissing the employees can be fatal as surely the ex-employees would not hesitate to pursue the matter as, after all, they have since left the company.

Also, it is important to manage employee separation with care regardless of whether the employee is leaving because of resignation, redundancy, retirement, death, frustration, expiry of contract or dismissal. Firstly, it minimises the risk of legal problems and secondly; it protects the reputation of both the business and the employer. Employees who leave employment on a pleasant note are more likely to recommend their previous employer, thus building a branding of employer of choice.

Employers should use fair procedures when terminating employees as replacing employees is expensive, and claims for unfair or unlawful dismissal can be costly and time consuming to defend. Also, what may be seen as an unfair process can affect workplace morale. An insufficient appreciation of the difference between the termination of an employment contract and dismissal of an employee from his employment is also contributing to this escalation as this is deducible from the nature of claims filed and their chances of success at the end of most litigation.

At the end of this workshop, delegates can be assured that they will be more competent in their understanding of grievance and disciplinary handling, as well as the dismissal of an employee in Singapore.

  • Understand the difference in the handling of statutory law employees (non-executive and PMEs).
  • Know the difference between dismissal with notice and without notice for the statutory employees.
  • Know that grievances and disciplinary issues can have an impact on the smooth running of an organisation.
  • Know the types of misconduct of employees at the workplace and outside the workplace
  • Understand that disciplinary issues can be effectively managed.
  • Know the purpose and implementation of disciplinary and grievances procedures.
  • The need for dismissal for employees who committed gross misconduct.
  • Understand the different modes of cessation of the employment contract.
  • Differentiate between repudiatory breach by misconduct, agreement with notice and without notice, negligence, frustration and poor performance.
  • Understand the disciplinary process, i.e. suspension, investigation and disciplinary inquiry of employee who committed misconduct.

A competent HR practitioner must have the knowledge and skills in the following:

1. Grievance-Handling

  • What constitutes misconduct.
  • Understanding the grievances of employees.
  • Differences between grievances, complaints and whistle-blowing.
  • Consequences of mishandling grievances.
  • Handling grievance effectively.
  • Company’s grievance-handling procedure.

2. Misconduct

  • What constitutes misconduct.
  • Minor and major misconduct.
  • Policy on the code of conduct.
  • Whether misconduct constitutes a breach of contract.
  • Negligence or incompetence.
  • Committing criminal offences.

3. Discipline and Disciplinary Action:

  • Definition of discipline.
  • The need to discipline.
  • Progressive discipline.
  • Company’s code of conduct.

4. Modes of Cessation of employment contract

  • Performance (Retirement).
  • Agreement (termination clause, retrenchment, expiry of fixed term contract ).
  • Repudiatory breach ( misconduct, fail probation, bankruptcy).
  • Frustration ( rest in peace ).
  • Remedies for wrongful dismissal.
  • Reinstatement or pay for damages.

5. “Dismissal.”

  • Employee as defined in section 2 of the Employment Act.
  • Definition of dismissal.
  • Definition of statutory (Non-Executive and PME) employee.
  • Contract of service versus contract for service.
  • Differences between dismissal with notice and dismissal without notice.

6. The test to be applied for Misconduct

  • Implied terms.
  • Express terms.
  • Duty of the employer
  • Duty of the employee
  • Illustration of misconduct
  • Dismissal is the employer’s prerogative.

7. Unsatisfactory work performance

  • Employment contract undermines by poor work performance.
  • Misconduct to be differentiated from poor work performance.
  • Evidence of shortcomings.
  • Process for dismissal for poor work performance.
  • Bearing on Retirement and Reemployment Act.

8. Employee committing a criminal offence at the workplace/outside the workplace.

  • Solutions to an employer’s dilemma over an employee who committed a criminal offence.
  • Standard of proof btw required in judicial court and disciplinary inquiry.
  • Nexus test to be applied to an employee’s job.
  • Criminal offence versus breach of the company’s rules and regulations.
  • Private conduct versus non-private conduct.
  • Doctrine of autrefois acquit and autrefois convict.
  • The need for a disciplinary inquiry.
  • How to handle employee released on police’s or court’s bail

9. Suspension, investigation and disciplinary inquiry

  • Disciplinary inquiry process with trade union / without trade union.
  • Differentiation between statutory and common law employee.
  • Suspension with pay or without pay and duration ofthe suspension.
  • Investigation to the complaint.
  • Conducting the disciplinary inquiry.
  • Framing disciplinary charges.
  • Disciplinary inquiry hearing procedure.
  • Termination while on hospitalisation leave.

Lecture and case study.

  • Human Resource Practitioners
  • Industrial Relations Practitioners
  • Lawyers
  • In-House Legal Counsels
  • Line Managers/Executives
  • Any other persons interested in grasping a good understanding of the Employment Act.

Please visit this page to register.