5 things you need to know about the new mandatory retrenchment notifications

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When you lose your job, all you really want is a new job.

Yes, chances of getting a new job is higher if you do the following – proactively search for jobs, get yourself noticed on LinkedIn or attend training courses to prepare for interviews.

However, not everyone knows where to seek to help. Many are also not in the right frame of mind to push themselves out of the sinkhole when they are hit by retrenchment.

In short, not everyone takes retrenchment news positively.

Once, one of the unions in Singapore had to refrain its member from attempting suicide when the long-serving worker couldn’t accept the news. The union even brought in the family members to assure him that he has full family support on this matter.

Some lie to their family members that they are going to work when in fact, they will make their way to the library to search for jobs in the Straits Times classified section.

To further support retrenched workers, the tripartite partners (MOM, NTUC and SNEF) have issued an advisory on mandatory retrenchment notifications.

Here’s 5 things you need to know about the advisory.

  1. Companies with more than 10 employees, please take note.

Come 1st January 2017, employers who employ at least 10 people are required to notify Workforce Singapore if they retrench 5 or more employees within 6 month period.

This is mandated by law so there will be some form of penalties for companies who fail to comply.

  1. Notification must be submitted within 5 working days.

Employers must submit the notification within 5 working days after the employee is informed (in writing) about his/her retrenchment, or has left the company, whichever is earlier.

Once Workforce Singapore receives the notification, they can work with NTUC’s job placement arm, e2i, to help affected employees find alternative employment and identify suitable training to increase chances of getting a job. This advisory aims to reach out to affected workers asap.

  1. Contract workers are also protected by this advisory.

This doesn’t just apply to permanent employees but also contract workers with full contract terms of at least 6 months.

On what constitutes retrenchment, it is defined as “dismissal on the ground of redundancy or by reason of any reorgnisation of the employer’s profession, business, trade or work”.

  1. Notification must be submitted online.

Here’s the step-by-step process on how to do so.

a. Go to http://www.mom.gov.sg/notify-retrenchment
b. Download the retrenchment notification form
c. Fill up the required details
d. Email the completed form to [email protected].

  1. Get ready 7 types of information for the notification.

The following information will be required in the notification:

  • Company UEN (unique entity number)
  • Company contact person details
  • Size of workforce before retrenchment (Singaporean, PR, foreigner)
  • Details of workers to be retrenched or who have been retrenched:
    • NRIC or FIN
    • Residential status
    • Date of retrenchment
    • Job title

NTUC Taskforce Member and Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay, advised unionised companies to consult their unions early so that they can work with employers to manage the excess manpower. Retrenchment should always be the last resort.

A few months ago, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) carried out a “right-sizing” exercise to reduce their operating costs, which is a nice way of saying they will be reducing manpower. 10 percent of their manpower will be cut over the next two years.

The Creative Media and Publishing Union (CMPU) was only informed about the impending retrenchments and rightsizing half an hour before the townhall meeting with SPH employees.

While retrenchments could not have been avoided, SPH did work with CMPU to provide affected workers with advice and assistance in terms of training, career coaching and job placement. There was also a retrenchment package which included training subsidies.

Mr Tay called on employers to reference the updated guidelines for responsible retrenchment and employment facilitation.

While there is good intent from the tripartite partners to further assist retrenched workers, employers should also do their part in considering other ways of managing excess manpower before deciding to slash manpower.

Even if they do let their employees go, they should do it responsibly to help cushion the impact for their deserving employees.

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