More than 4,800 employers in Singapore have notified the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) regarding cost-saving measures that impacted their employees’ monthly salaries.
Based on the ministry’s data, the measures have affected over 187,000 workers in the three months from March 12. Affected workers are mostly coming from sectors severely impacted by Covid-19 like accommodation and food services industry. They make up about 5 percent of the total workforce in the country, excluding maids.
The MOM and the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) said in a statement on Monday (Jun 24) that the top three cost-saving measures implemented were no-pay leave, adjustments to monthly salary components, and shorter work week.
Since the measures were implemented, more than 600 employees have come the ministry as they felt their companies have taken unfair or unreasonable steps. But investigation showed that 74 percent of the cases arose due to misunderstandings because employers did not communicate well with employees about what measures they were taking, and why they were needed.
“Many disputes can be avoided if both parties communicate, make some sacrifices, and work together to help the company pull through this crisis,” MOM said. It added that there has not been a case so far of any employer willfully refusing to channel government funding to proper use, The Straits Times reports.
MOM director for employment standards enforcement Christine Loh said: “To weather the impact of Covid-19 in the months ahead, employers and employees have a shared responsibility to work together and make sacrifices to prevent retrenchment and preserve jobs.”
She added that MOM will investigate complaints and take actions against employers who do not treat employees fairly.