Singapore government is going to investigate cases of employers misclassifying employees to avoid employer obligations, and take action where warranted, the Business Times reported.
Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said his ministry will also take note of cases where employers terminate their employees’ contracts of service, but engage their services under conditions that effectively make them employees.
Mohamad announced the government's decision while responding to a parliamentary question by Workers’ Party Member of Parliament (MP) Leon Perera (Aljunied GRC).Perera had earlier asked about safeguards for full-time and part-time drivers on the contract of service covered under the recently-expanded Progressive Wage Model (PWM).
These drivers fear contract termination and re-hiring as platform drivers by employers who are looking to cut costs, the MP said.The new Occupational Progressive Wages for drivers stipulate that employers meet wage requirements for them at various job levels, in addition to providing training and career pathways.
Zaqy spoke about his government's pledge to ensure employees' interests, saying employers must consider their methods of contracting workers in the tight labour market because affected employees may seek greater employment certainty elsewhere, which leaves these employers with difficulties in ensuring sufficient manpower to meet business needs.
The senior minister also reiterated the existence of the Progressive Wage Credit Scheme, which works as transitional support by funding up to 75 per cent of the wage increases given in 2023.“We encourage employers to take the opportunity to uplift wages, and upgrade the productivity and skills of lower-wage workers,” he said.
Addressing a supplementary question from People’s Action Party MP Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC) about efforts to ensure awareness among employees of this potential misclassification practice, Zaqy said that most employees “know their general rights” and can seek support from unions for unfair termination.No complaints of such conversions have been received by the Manpower Ministry so far, he said.