Parliament: Employment Act amended to make payslips and employment terms more transparent

Manpower Minister, Lim Swee Say, said there will be four breaches covered in the new law approved by Parliament on Aug 17 including fines for failures to issue itemised payslips.
Manpower Minister, Lim Swee Say, said there will be four breaches covered in the new law approved by Parliament on Aug 17 including fines for failures to issue itemised payslips.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Employers who do not issue itemised payslips or spell out employment terms in writing for their workers can be fined under changes to the law approved by Parliament on Monday.

The amendments by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to the Employment Act - Singapore's main labour law - come into effect on April 1 next year.

Besides making employment terms more transparent, the changes also include making less severe breaches of the law non-criminal infringements, which attract a financial penalty but not a criminal record.

"This process is more appropriate for these types of administrative breaches, and prevents companies from being penalised too heavily, especialy SMEs," said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say.

Four breaches will be covered:

  • Failure to issue itemised payslips;
  • Failure to issue key employment terms 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.

Employers can be fined from $100 to $200 per employee or occurrence, depending on the type of breach. If they repeatedly fail to comply, it will become a criminal offence.

The proposed amendments will "prevent misunerstandings and minimise disputes" between employers and employees, said Mr Lim.

Over the next few months, the MOM will issue detailed guides with sample payslips and key employment terms and conduct briefings and workshops about the changes. Since last year, it has released two sets of tripartite guidelines for employers and a package of tools such as blank payslips, free software and funding support, said Mr Lim.

There will be a one year grace period from April 2016 to end-March 2017 for companies to comply. "Our focus will be on educating smaller employers...rather than on punishing those who do not comply," he said.

Under the amendments, MOM also clarified that the employer will have to pay staff holiday rates of pay or give them a day off if they have to work on non-scheduled public holidays declared by the Government, such as the SG50 public holiday and polling days.

It also clarified that employers are not required to provide paid family-related leave to employees who are given voluntary no-pay leave.