More workers made redundant in 2014

The numbers have confirmed what HR professionals across Singapore already know – redundancies were up last year.

More workers made redundant in 2014
Redundancies were up last year, but fewer workers made redundant were Singapore residents, according to new statistics.

A report released by the Ministry of Manpower on Thursday revealed redundancies in Singapore rose from 11,560 workers in 2013 to 12,930 workers in 2014, with companies attributing the losses to restructuring and re-organisation.

However, fewer residents were laid off in 2014 (7,240), compared to 7,520 in 2013.
Professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) formed a smaller share of layoffs – 51% - last year; compared to 56% the year previous. But their likelihood of redundancy remained higher than clerical, sales and service workers and production and related workers, the report said.

With redundancies at such a high level, it’s never been more important to know relevant changes in employment law legislation.

As of the first of this month, all EA employees (all employees in Singapore except seamen, domestic servants and most PMET employees) who have provided at least two years of service are entitled to request for a redundancy payment in the event that their employment is terminated.

“The amount of such payment is not stipulated by law and are subject to the terms of the employee’s employment contract, employee manuals, collective bargaining or union agreements,” according to DLA Piper Singapore’s latest employment law guide, released last week.

When it comes to actually giving notice of the redundancy, Behavioural scientist and strategist Darren Hill, co-founder of Pragmatic Thinking, had some tips.
  • “Don’t even attempt to remove emotion from the conversation,” said Hill. “There will be emotion and you will have to deal with it. Recognise that tears and sadness are okay but tread carefully with sympathy vs empathy. Statements such as, ‘It looks like you are really upset’ are helpful, while ‘I’m sorry this is happening to you’ sends the message, ‘I’m glad it’s you and not me’.”
  • “Always remember to keep the tone and volume of your voice underneath the other person’s. If it does get heated voices can be raised. Never be tempted to match the escalation. People do not usually shout for very long if the other party doesn’t reciprocate, as it makes them feel uncomfortable.”
  • “The social rule of direct eye contact is dangerous. Although we’re taught to look someone in the eye, this is the most personal communication medium and the person on the receiving end often has no choice but to take the message personally. Share an independent visual medium such as some written notes to help you talk about ‘it’ (the restructure or termination) instead of ‘you’.”

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