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In this section:

    The termination of employment in Singapore can be initiated by either the employee or the employer and both parties must follow the terms and conditions for termination stated in the contract of service.

    Employees are generally hired with a probation of three to six months and will be hired as permanent employees after the probation period ends. The employment contract will usually set out the terms of termination and what notice is required, if any. It is vital for all employees to be sure exactly what their employment contract says so that they can proceed accordingly.

    The termination of the contract of service can occur in case of:

    • Employee resignation;
    • Employer dismissal; or
    • Expiration of the contract terms.

    Valid reasons for dismissing an employee can include:

    • Misconduct, such as theft, dishonesty, disorderly or immoral conduct, and insubordination;
    • Poor performance; and
    • Redundancy. 

    Employers must carry out an inquiry if an accusation of misconduct has been brought against one of their employees. The company must also inform the employee of the accusation before dismissing them or taking any other disciplinary action, and allow the employee to make a case in defense of their actions.

    Employers can suspend employees accused of misconduct during an inquiry for a maximum of one week, and are still required to pay half salary to the employee during the suspension. Employers can seek to extend the suspension period by seeking approval from the Commissioner of Labor.

    Termination with Notice

    If an employee’s contract specifies a notice period, then they must serve the stipulated notice period or pay compensation in lieu of the notice. Any notice of termination, either by the employee or employer, must be in writing.

    If an employment contract does not specify a notice period, then the notice period is dependent on the length of the employee’s service.

    Notice Period for Termination of Employment

    Length of service

    Notice period

    Less than 26 weeks

    One day

    26 weeks to two years

    One week

    Two to five years

    Two weeks

    Five years and above

    Four weeks

    A termination letter is mandatory for termination of employment, whether instigated by the employer or the employee. Either party wishing to terminate the employment contract must provide advance notice in writing to the other party.

    It is illegal for an employer to refuse the resignation of an employee.

    Termination without Notice

    If an employee resigns without giving notice, then the employee must forgo their salary in lieu of serving the notice period. If an employer dismisses an employee without notice, then they must provide compensation equal to the amount the employee would have earned during the notice period.

    Termination Due to Breach of Employment Terms

    Either the employer or employee can terminate the employment if the terms of employment have been breached.

    An employer is considered to be in breach of contract if they fail to pay the employee’s salary within seven days of its due date. An employee is in breach of contract if they are absent from work for two working days without approval or without attempting to inform the employer.

    Filing a Wrongful Dismissal Claim

    Wrongful dismissal occurs when an employee is dismissed without just cause. Filing a wrongful dismissal claim must be done within one month from the last day of employment to the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM). The TADM will ask the former employee to show proof that the dismissal was wrongful.

    If the claim(s) cannot be solved through the TADM, then the case will be referred to the Employment Claims Tribunals (ECT). Claimants can refer to the Tripartite Guidelines on Wrongful Dismissal for details on what constitutes a wrongful dismissal.

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