From the 1st of April 2016, employers will have a duty to issue itemised pay slips and key employment terms to staff covered by the Employment Act.
This is a step forward in making agreement terms clearer. The low waged, the vulnerable and the illiterate are immediate benefactors of this new law. Unethical employers will no longer be able to hide behind the cloak of ignorance.
Under the new law, four areas will be covered:
- Failure to issue itemised payslips;
- Failure to issue key employment terms, such as working arrangements, main duties and fixed salary deductions, in writing;
- Failure to maintain detailed employment records; and
- Provision of inaccurate information to the Commissioner for Labour or inspecting officers without intending to defraud and mislead.
In August 2015, Labour MP Patrick Tay (Nee Soon GRC), was one of six MPs who spoke in support of the changes. He said well-kept employee records would minimise long legal tussles and money spent, while Mr Zainudin Nordin (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) said that without proper employment contracts, employers may take advantage of this situation in disputes.
Labour MP Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) said the amendments would help low-wage workers who may not know that they should request payslips and employment terms for their protection. “The likelihood of these workers being short-changed by their employers is very high,” he said.
When a labour dispute occurs with such a worker, there have been occasions where bosses feign ignorance and claim that salaries and other arrangements have been different from what was agreed. It had been almost impossible to disprove the employer.
This excuse will run dry from now on.
Even if they do not how to make the changes, the MOM announced that employers can tap on an “EA assistance package” for blank payslips and key employment terms that can be filled in by hand; software for generating itemised pay slips; one-to-one assistance for small and medium enterprises; as well as funding.
Employers who breach the law will face an administrative penalty ranging from $100 to $200 per employee.