international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

Singapore: Updates to Mandatory Retrenchment Notifications

Mandatory retrenchment notifications enable relevant agencies in Singapore such as Workforce Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore National Employers Federation to help affected retrenched employees find alternative employment and/or identify relevant training to enhance employability.

The Ministry of Manpower had on 7 September 2021, provided an update on the requirements for mandatory retrenchment notifications which will take effect from 1 November 2021. Further information on the update can be found here.

Currently, mandatory retrenchment notifications are only applicable to employers who meet the following requirements:

  • are a Singapore-registered business;
  • have at least 10 employees in the company; and
  • have notified at least 5 employees of their retrenchment within any 6-month period.

From 1 November 2021, employers who have at least 10 employees in the company would have to notify the Ministry of Manpower of all retrenchments regardless of the number of employees affected.

Mandatory retrenchment notifications are to be made to the Ministry of Manpower within 5 working days via a prescribed form after affected employees are notified of their retrenchment from the employer.

Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel 

Employers should ensure that retrenchment exercises are managed responsibly and fairly, in accordance with the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment.

While this is a step in the right direction for providing timely support for affected employees, there are still question marks over the process such as the actual definition of “retrenchment” and what actually technically constitutes “notice of retrenchment” to the affected employees.