I am writing to you as I have stumbled upon your website on a few occasions previously – read about work issues and problems faced by alot of readers who have shared their stories.
I would like to first of all, thank you for setting up this website to help people like me and offering help in counselling regarding our work issues.
I am a 27 years old local Singaporean with 4 years of working experience in the purchasing and procurement line.
I did alot of multi-tasking and were comfortable to handle my responsibilities confidently. Currently, I am employed with another company for almost 3 1/2 months.
The position which I had applied for is Procurement Services Coordinator and I felt that I could meet most of their requirements stated in the job advertisement.
Since the last 3.5 months with this new company, I realised that my main jobscope and duties are not what were stated in their advertisement.
I have high expectations prior to the interview and was ecstatic when I was informed that the job was offered to me with the salary benefit of my expectation.
I accepted the offer readily, considering that this company is quite stable with instant confirmation upon employment though they have a policy of not allowing an employee to leave within 3 years.
However, after staying with the company for the last 3.5 months, what I had been doing was mainly assisting another Procurement Services Coordinator with the issuing of Purchase Orders typed out manually using ACCPAC system, typing out Purchase Requisitions manually using Microsoft Excel Worksheets, filings of Work Orders and Purchase Orders, emailing and scanning the according Purchase Orders to the relevant suppliers and vendors.
On a weekly basis, I have to send a mass email of the list of pending Purchase Orders list to the accounts department and do a report on raw metal prices.
Other than that, once a month I have to assist the Materials Management Executive with costings of raw materials and such. And on top of that, I am also required to key in data entry figures in the files.
Also, I am made as the minute-taker during meetings with and suppliers visit.
As you can see from my above descriptions and explanations, these are very minimal duties that I am carrying out in my department.
I discussed my expectations with the Executive in-charge of the department but still nothing was being done.
I was advised to talk to the person who interviewed me which is the Purchasing Manageress but from what I have seen, many colleagues who have raised their issues and concerns to her got backfired.
She will simply shout and scream at them and there was even a time, I heard her screaming to one colleague, “You don’t want to do it, is it? That is the new job assigned for you. How dare you argue with me? I am the Manager here!”
Right now, I am in a dilemma as I have signed the company’s contract – if I resigned and decided to leave less than the stipulated 3 years’ time frame, I am required to compensate the company with 6 months’ salary.
As I have mentioned, in the earlier part of this email, there was no initial probation period upon employment but instead, employees are offered instant confirmation as a permanent staff as per the company’s benefits.
I have called the Ministry of Manpower yesterday afternoon and seek advice from their Customer Service Officers regarding terminating my contract. Under the clause of the Employment Act (link: http://www.mom.gov.sg/employment-practices/employment-rights-conditions/contract-of-service-termination/Pages/contracts-of-service-and-termination.aspx#rer)
Termination of Contract with Notice
The party who intends to terminate the contract must give notice to the other party in writing.
The notice period to be given depends on what is agreed in the written contract. If there is no written contract, the notice period to be given depends on what the parties have agreed upon verbally.
If there is no such period previously agreed upon, the following shall apply:
Length of Service Notice Period
Less than 26 weeks 1 day
26 weeks to less than 2 years 1 week
2 years to less than 5 years 2 weeks
5 years and above 4 weeks
The day on which the notice is given shall be included in the notice period.
The length of notice to be given by an employee (in a resignation) and an employer (in a termination of employment) are the same.
By mutual consent, notice can be waived.
Rejection of employee’s resignationAn employer cannot reject an employee’s resignation. The employee has the right to resign at any time by serving the required notice or by compensating the employer salary in-lieu of notice. Failure of the employer to allow an employee to leave his service is an offence. The employer shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.
Compensation from employees for terminating a contractContracts that require employees to pay a monetary compensation (in addition to notice pay) to the employer for terminating the contract before the completion of a specified period are not covered by the Employment Act. An employee can resign at any time by serving the required notice in accordance with the provisions in the employment contract.
The terms pertaining to monetary compensation (in addition to the notice pay) for terminating the contract prematurely is a contractual term and not governed by the Employment Act. Where there are disputes, the civil court will have jurisdiction in deciding the outcome.
I understand that I can still request to resign from the company under the Employment Act, but I might need to pay them the monetary compensation which is not covered under this Employment Act policy.
Worse of all, the company has a lawyer’s contract on this as well.
I wish to find out if this lawyer’s contract is valid and what ways I can resign without having to pay any compensation to the company?
I hope to get assistance from somebody to look into this matter and to help me understand the validity of the company’s and lawyers’ contract as well as what that can be done.
Editor’s Note: We have seen the writer and will be seeking legal advice on her case. If you have faced such unjust employment contractual terms before, please email email@example.com. We like to hear from you.