MOM: More workers laid off in 2015 as compared to 2014

Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has announced that amid softer economic conditions and ongoing business restructuring, there were more workers laid off in 2015 as compared to the numbers in 2014.

15,580 workers were laid off in 2015 while there were 12,930 who were retrenched in 2014.

MOM said that in line with shorter employment tenures, the eligibility service period for retrenchment benefits was shortened from 3 years to 2 years and took effect on 1 April 2015.

The Retrenchment Benefits Survey conducted once every 4 years was brought forward from 2017 to 2016 to cover retrenchments conducted in 2015.

The following are the key findings from the “Retrenchment Benefits 2015” report released by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department, Ministry of Manpower:

9 in 10 establishments continued to pay retrenchment benefits to eligible employees, even after eligibility service period was shortened from 3 years to 2 years

  • The proportion of establishments which paid retrenchment benefits to eligible employees remained high in 2015 (91%). Large establishments with at least 200 employees (97%) and unionised establishments (100%) were more likely to pay retrenchment benefits.
  • For employees who served less than 2 years and hence not eligible for retrenchment benefits, 2 in 3 establishments still paid retrenchment benefits to them.
Proportion of small establishments with 10 to 24 employees which paid retrenchment benefits was comparable to those with 25 to 199 employees

  1. For the first time, the survey was expanded to include small establishments with less than 25 employees (10 to 24 employees). The proportion of these small establishments which paid retrenchment benefits was as high as those with 25 to 199 employees (both at 88%).

Majority of establishments continued to pay 1 month of salary per year of service, although more were giving out lump sum payments

  1. A vast majority (83%) of establishments paid retrenchment benefits by years of service in 2015, with more than half paying 1 month of salary per year of service. Large and unionised establishments tended to pay higher retrenchment benefits.
  2. The proportion of establishments which paid retrenchment benefits in lump sum increased in 2015 (17%, up from 7% in 2012). The lump sum quantum was typically 1 to 2 months of salary.

MOM concluded that the proportion of establishments giving retrenchment benefits remained high.

From 1 January 2017, it will be mandatory for employers to notify MOM of retrenchment exercises within 5 working days. Employers who retrench five or more employees within any 6 month period beginning 1 Jan 2017 will have to notify MOM. The notification has to be done within 5 working days after they notify the affected employees.

MOM states that this change in regulation will enable Workforce Singapore (WSG) and its tripartite partners to better assist retrenched locals in finding alternative employment and relevant training.

The Taskforce for Responsible Retrenchment and Employment Facilitation – led by WSG and comprising representatives from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) – was set up in March 2016 to provide timely and effective assistance to retrenched individuals and ensure that employers treat their workers fairly if retrenchment is inevitable.

MOM claims that with SkillsFuture and Adapt and Grow initiatives, retrenched individuals can be helped to enhance their employability and seize new job opportunities.

Adapt and Grow was earlier announced by Minister Lim Swee Say at the MOM Committee of Supply Debate 2016, and brings together a package of enhanced employment support initiatives, including the expansion of Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) to support those switching careers, and enhancement of the Career Support Programme (CSP) which is said to help displaced workers secure a quality job with employers.

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