Legislation on retrenchment reporting inevitable, says expert

Union leaders are calling on MOM to make reporting retrenchment compulsory. One HR consultant says it might just be a matter of time

In light of the recent news that unions are asking the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to make reporting retrenchments to the government compulsory, one expert said it might just be a matter of time before this happens.

Evan Ng, senior consultant at Mercuri Urval Singapore, said that the issue of reporting retrenchment exercises to the government is one that “all governments face”.

MOM’s reminder, he believed, is their way of saying that companies shouldn’t force their hand.

“The question is not a matter of ‘should’ but if this continues, then ‘when’ will it be a matter of time before MOM will step in with some form of legislation,” he said, adding that this is despite the fact that the government may be loath to legislate it. 

While on the outset, making reporting retrenchments compulsory may be a good idea, Ng said that if companies are subjected to legislation on how they conduct their retrenchment exercise, “it can never be seen as an advantage for them”.

“Matters such as these, regardless of level of employment, are highly sensitive and confidential,” he said.

“Legislation can very well compromise and tie their hands on how to carry out these exercises.”

Still, Ng’s advice is for companies to take the initiative to work with MOM.

“[Meanwhile], MOM should encourage platforms and interactions for companies and HR consultants to educate and work together in such situations to minimise pain points and provide options for [affected] people,” he said. 



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