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Employee termination in Singapore.

Learn about employee termination in Singapore thanks to Horizons’ up-to-date guide.

Horizons is where real, local hiring expertise meets world-class customer service. Quickly and compliantly hire employees in more than 150 countries worldwide, without the need to open a local entity.

Valid reasons to terminate employment in Singapore

Valid reasons to terminate employment include:

  • Unsatisfactory probation
  • Breach of contract
  • Misconduct
  • Poor performance (with documented proof)
  • Redundancy

Unfair reasons to terminate employment in Singapore

It is unfair to dismiss an employee without just or sufficient cause. This constitutes wrongful dismissal and includes termination of employment for the following reasons:

Discriminatory grounds such as age, race, gender, religion, marital status and family responsibilities or disability.
To deprive an employee of benefits or entitlements, e.g. maternity benefits.
To punish an employee for exercising an employment right.

Dismissal procedure in Singapore

An employer can dismiss an employee according to the notice period stated in their employment contract or pay them salary in lieu of notice. If the contract does not stipulate a notice period, this should be according to the statutory provisions in the Employment Act.

Dismissal on the grounds of misconduct is the only ground where an employer does not need to give the employee  notice. However, the employer must conduct an inquiry before taking action to dismiss an employee. Examples of misconduct include absenteeism, fighting and insubordination.

Resignation procedure in Singapore

An employee can resign from their job at any point by presenting their employer with a resignation letter. Upon formal acceptance of their resignation, an employee will  be required to serve the notice period stated in their employment contract or pay salary in lieu of notice to their employer instead.

If their employment contract does not stipulate a notice period this will be in accordance with the provisions stated in the Employment Act.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ):

As Singapore is an at-will jurisdiction, either party may terminate the employment contract at any time by giving notice or salary in lieu of notice. It is, therefore, relatively easy to terminate employment in Singapore

An employee who claims they have been unfairly dismissed may submit a wrongful dismissal claim with the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM). If successful, they will be entitled to reinstatement in their former employment or compensation which includes an amount equal to the wages that they would have earned had they not been dismissed plus damages for the harm caused to them.

To mitigate this risk, it is important for employers to ensure dismissals are conducted lawfully, especially in cases of misconduct where the requirement to conduct an inquiry ought to be carefully undertaken.

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