SINGAPORE (May 28): This time next year, just about all employees in Singapore, save for the roughly 145,000 people employed in the civil service and statutory boards, foreign domestic workers and seafarers, will come under the protections of the Employment Act (EA). The government is set to remove the Act’s monthly salary cap of $4,500 from April 1, 2019, which means some 430,000 PMEs (professionals, managers and executives) will enjoy key safeguards such as leave benefits and statutory protection against wrongful dismissal.

On the face of it, the Act’s expanded coverage is in the right direction and applauded by human resource consultancies. Rob Bryson, managing director of Robert Walters Singapore, says: “Median wages (including those of PMEs) are rising, and PMEs are now gradually forming the majority of the workforce. This changing profile of the workforce requires a regular review of the scope of coverage of the Employment Act to ensure that the policy stays relevant and serves the needs of the future workforce.”

Dennis Ong, associate professor of the Division of Business Law at Nanyang Business School (NBS), Nanyang Technological University, says: “These measures are not new but represent a measured and calibrated attempt to recognise the importance of PMETs [professionals, managers, executives and technicians] in our workforce and to take timely measures now as their numbers burgeon.”

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