MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SINGAPORE NATIONAL EMPLOYERS FEDERATION ON MANAGING EXCESS MANPOWER AND RESPONSIBLE RETRENCHMENT
11 January 2024
The Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) noted that Singapore’s total employment had continued to expand for the eighth consecutive quarter and unemployment rates remained stable and low, according to the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) latest Labour Market Report for the Third Quarter of 2023. However, the number and incidence of retrenchments had both increased.
2 Reorganisation or restructuring had been cited as the main reason for retrenchments. Coupled with subdued external demand, increased cost pressures, and concerns of a recession, it may be necessary for some employers to make reductions to their workforce, in order to remain sustainable.
3 To cope with the changes in the operating environment, including the higher costs of doing business, employers need to push for higher productivity and press on with business and workforce transformation.
4 Employers recognise the need to take a long-term view of their manpower needs, and preserve jobs even as they transform, as this will allow them to retain capacity and capability within the organisation. And they would seek to reskill and redeploy their employees where possible. However, downsizing as a part of business transformation may be inevitable, with retrenchment considered as a measure of last resort.
5 To guide employers on responsible retrenchment practices, the updated Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment (TAMEM), was issued by the tripartite partners – the MOM, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the SNEF in January 2023. It included a checklist to assist and guide employers in managing their excess manpower, preserving jobs and conducting retrenchment exercises responsibly.
6 Employers should familiarise themselves with the TAMEM. SNEF, as a Trade Union of Employers, can represent the interests of employers and employers should reach out to SNEF for assistance. SNEF, together with our tripartite partners, stand ready to help employers implement TAMEM and to resolve issues early and amicably.