SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower will at the end of the month come up with a public consultation paper on proposed changes to the Employment Act.
Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan—Jin said the paper will take into account the important inputs raised by employers and unions with the aim of coming up with a fair and balanced package.
Mr Tan noted that the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) had announced its wishlist for the Employment Act and many of the issues raised have been highlighted in the tripartite discussions.
The labour movement is pushing for the Employment Act to cover more professionals, managers and executives.
Increased coverage will mean more white—collar workers can claim overtime pay and retrenchment benefits, among other things.
The acting minister also noted the concerns of employers who are asking for flexibility.
Mr Tan stressed that Singapore’s secret weapon over the years, and up till today, remains the strong tripartism among the labour movement, employers and the government.
And this has helped to meet challenges head on.
Mr Tan said: "My message to the employers, unions in all the occasions I have met them is, going forward it is going to become even more important, the level of trust, the level of confidence that we can establish between the tripartite partners will have to increase.
"We do feel the pressures, all of us will have to cater to the stakeholders, we need in our own way to be vocal and rightfully so, but as a result of that, we need a greater sense of commitment and trust between the three partners. And this working together is unified by a common sense of purpose and the common sense of purpose really is about how do we make things better for Singapore and how do we make things better for Singaporeans."
He said that this year, the re—employment legislation which obliges employers to re—employ older workers up to the age of 65 was smoothly implemented.
Mr Tan said 97 percent of the 11,500 local employees who were retiring at the end of June 2011 were offered employment beyond 62.
The acting minister was speaking at the Graduation Ceremony of the Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute on Saturday.
The event was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is the chairman of the institute’s Board of Governors, and NTUC Secretary—General Lim Swee Say.
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