Overtime pay tied to salary, less to job title

The report about professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) being shortchanged from inflated titles addled my brain ('PMEs' with inflated titles shortchanged, says labour MP; June 21).

It seemed to suggest that PMEs are a gullible lot.

If our PMEs in Singapore sense that they are being exploited or shortchanged, they would not accept a job offer.

If the scope of work changes drastically soon after a job offer was accepted and the affected PME feels shortchanged, he coulddiscuss it over with the management to clarify things and, if necessary, seek advice from the relevant authorities.

In an open economy like ours, our PMEs would also be able to take their in-demand skills elsewhere.

Overtime compensation is subject to Ministry of Manpower (MOM) regulations. This rule is also tied to base salary.

While overtime pay eligibility as detailed in the Employment Act is tied to designations and responsibilities, it has less to do with titles per se.

An employee can hold the title of an executive or manager, but if the salary is below the stipulated overtime pay guideline, the organisation would then need to pay for overtime (or arrange other forms of non-financial compensation) unless otherwise agreed by both parties.

A good example would be operating environments of start-ups or early-stage organisations.

It was also noted that the National Trades Union Congress would be working with MOM to review existing rules. I hope not too much attention is focused on this current "plight" of PMEs.

Tan Kar Quan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2018, with the headline 'Overtime pay tied to salary, less to job title'. Print Edition | Subscribe