MOM: Internal comms failure major source of complaints during cost-saving implementations

The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM), together with the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), has unveiled that poor or delayed internal communication is the main factor behind complaints of company's cost-saving measures during this COVID-19 period.

In a press release, MOM said that more than 600 employees have approached it for assistance as they felt the measures implemented by their company were unfair or unreasonable. "Our interventions revealed that in the majority of cases (74%), misunderstandings arose because employers did not communicate the measures well and/or failed to explain the necessity for adopting the cost-saving measures," the release added. Some of the cases included employers not explaining why employees were given pay cut, as well as employees having misunderstanding of the government payouts.

Christine Loh, director, employment standards enforcement, Ministry of Manpower, said: “Employers and employees have a shared responsibility to work together and make sacrifices to prevent retrenchment and preserve jobs."

Roslyn Ten, general manager, TAFEP added: “Open and honest communication will go a long way in ensuring that these sometimes painful measures are carried out smoothly. TAFEP will continue to engage employers to advise them on how to better support their employees during this difficult time.”

According to Marketing's sister publication Human Resources Online, the most common issue was whether it was acceptable for employers to ask employees to consume annual leave or take no-pay leave, given that employers are receiving government support such as the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) and the Foreign Worker Levy (FWL) rebates. To this point, the tripartite partners agreed that it is reasonable for employers to ask employees to tap on existing leave entitlements or even take some no-pay leave when business activity has been sharply reduced.

It is also added that with effect from 12 March 2020, employers with 10 or more employees are required to notify the MOM if they implement cost-saving measures that affect employee’s monthly salaries.

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