The Straits Times
Published on Nov 15, 2012

Another way to better protect PMEs


I APPLAUD the National Trades Union Congress' call to better protect local professionals, managers and executives ("NTUC proposes better protection for PMEs"; last Saturday).

Currently, the Employment Act does not cover middle-income PMEs who earn more than $4,500 a month. Many of them have to seek their own legal recourse when there is an employment dispute.

For the sake of future employment opportunities and peace of mind, many PMEs let the errant employers off lightly, and many companies know they have the upper hand.

Currently, an employer can dismiss staff simply by paying a month's salary, as stipulated in the employment contract - often citing poor performance as a reason for dismissal.

There is no need to produce any valid reasons for dismissal, and PMEs are often not properly counselled or coached prior to dismissal.

Unfair dismissals not only dampen the morale of PMEs, but also give Singapore a bad name. Over time, foreign talent may give our country a miss.

Besides amending the Employment Act to better protect PMEs, an independent ombudsman could be appointed to deal with contractual disputes.

Being independent and neutral, the ombudsman can better represent PMEs' rights.

The current employment market has evolved drastically, especially with the recent heavy influx of foreigners. It is also timely for the Employment Act to be amended to reflect that change.

Gilbert Goh


Transitioning - Unemployment Support Services