Photo of Singapore MBS from AFP

According to the latest survey released by the Ministry of Manpower yesterday (Dec 29), only 90.6% of the employers surveyed are paying retrenchment payouts in 2015, fewer than the 94.3% in 2012. The figure is also the lowest among the surveys conducted over the past decade.

25 companies from the private sector who were retrenching were selected for the Retrenchment Benefits Survey. Under the government’s employment guidelines, employees who work for at least 2 years are entitled to retrenchment benefits. However the guidelines are not compulsory for non-unionized companies. Only 89.3% of the non-unionized companies are paying.

In 2015, 15,580 workers were retrenched, a 20.5% increase from 2014’s 12,930. Retrenchments figures in 2016 is expected to be higher as survey results for the first nine months show that 13,730 are already retrenched – a seven-year high.

The survey also found that employers who do pay retrenchment benefits are also paying lesser as compared to 4 years ago. Typically, a company will compensate an employee a month’s salary for each year he served. Larger companies are likely to pay retrenchment benefits more than smaller companies.

Singapore is having a bleak economic outlook for 2017 according to surveys conducted by the Singapore Business Federation and Monetary Authority of Singapore. However, the government is not willing to acknowledge a recession despite rising unemployment figures and negative GDP output. In the most recent quarter (Q3), Singapore is the only Asian country to have posted a negative GDP figure.