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On 29 November 2020, the Department of Trade and Industry (“DTI”) and the Department of Labor and Employment (“DOLE”) issued Advisory No. 20-03 Series of 2020 which amended the DTI-DOLE Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2020-04-A. The amendments include the following:
- Shuttle services for employees of establishments with total assets of Php100,000,000 located at special economic zones and other areas under the Investment Promotions Agency may adopt the following: (i) “one seat apart” arrangement; or (ii) full seating capacity with the necessary dividers in place.
- Information on contact tracing form shall be limited to the name and contact number of customers, clients, examinees, and visitors.
SINGAPORE: Managing Manpower Costs: New Guidelines on Wage Cuts and Updated Tripartite Advisory on Retrenchments
In an encouraging sign, Singapore's third-quarter economic growth has expanded by 7.9% in the third quarter from the 13.2% contraction in the preceding quarter. However the economic fallout of COVID-19 will not dissipate anytime soon, especially as new waves of infections continue to surge worldwide. While the government has been encouraging businesses to retain workers where possible, it is now acknowledged that retrenchments and/or wage cuts may be inevitable. Accordingly, there have been two new developments for employers to take note of:
- Release of the National Wages Council's ("NWC") 2020/2021 Supplementary Guidelines ("Supplementary Guidelines"), which will apply from 1 November 2020 to 30 June 2021; and
- Updates to the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment as of 17 October 2020 ("Updated Advisory") issued by the tripartite partners, being the Ministry of Manpower ("MOM"), the National Trades Union Congress ("NTUC") and the Singapore National Employers Federation ("SNEF").
The Supplementary Guidelines sets out principles for wage cuts, while the Updated Advisory provides guidance on conducting retrenchment exercises. We provide an overview of both developments in this Update.Singapore | Workplace & Employment | 20 October 2020
This is the second edition of the "Omnibus Law 2020: Overview Series", which highlights changes in the employment sector.
In Indonesia, as in many other countries, employment law is often a sensitive issue, and past governments have shied away from resolving issues surrounding employment. With the enactment of the Omnibus Law, various provisions of the current Labour Law (Law No. 13 of 2003) that are deemed to be "too restrictive" or "too difficult" are either removed entirely or updated.
The provisions that are being updated by the Omnibus Law include provisions on termination of employment, compensation for termination of employment, minimum wage, outsourcing, fixed-term employment, work permit for expatriates, and the establishment of a new social security program called the loss of employment security program.Indonesia | Workplace & Employment | 09 October 2020
CAMBODIA: RGC Updates on Subsidies for Employees in the Garment and Tourism Sectors during the Employment Suspension
To update the amounts of subsidy provided by the Royal Government of Cambodia (“RGC”) to employees in the garment and tourism sectors, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has issued several notifications as follows:
- three notifications on 24 July 2020;
- two notifications on 29 July 2020;
- three notifications on 31 July 2020;
- two notification on 26 August 2020;
- one notification on 2 September 2020, and
- one notification on 10 September 2020.
Generally, the amount of subsidy varies with the period of employment suspension, and subject to fulfilment of certain conditions such as employees who have completed soft skills training.Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 21 September 2020
On 14 August 2020, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training ("MLVT") issued a clarification on the compensation in lieu of prior notice and damages in cases of termination of undetermined duration contract ("UDC"), providing additional explanation to Letter No. 295 dated 29 July 2020 of the Inspection Department of the MLVT on clarification of “damages” and “compensation in lieu of prior notice”.Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 14 September 2020
PHILIPPINES: DTI and DOLE issue Supplemental Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19
On 14 August 2020, the Department of Trade and Industry ("DTI") and the Department of Labor and Employment ("DOLE") released Joint Memorandum Circular No. 20-04 or the Supplemental Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 ("Supplemental Guidelines"). This issuance shall apply to all private establishments, regardless of economic activity, including those located inside special economic zones and under the jurisdiction of Investment Promotion Agencies.
The Supplemental Guidelines introduce new measures intended to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.Philippines | Workplace & Employment | 08 September 2020
PHILIPPINES: DOLE Issues Guidelines on Processes and Proceedings Before the Labor Offices in Areas Under Community Quarantine
On 5 May 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment ("DOLE") issued DOLE Department Order No. 213 series of 2020 which suspended the reglementary periods to file pleadings, motions, and other actions, and interrupted the prescriptive periods for the commencement of actions for areas placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") and General Community Quarantine ("GCQ"). However, given the extension of community quarantine measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines, and in the interest of labor, DOLE issued Department Order No. 214 series of 2020 which provides for the lifting of the suspension of the reglementary periods and interruption of prescriptive period for areas placed under community quarantine excluding places under ECQ, MECQ, and total lockdown.Philippines | Workplace & Employment | 24 August 2020
The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has issued two notifications dated 14 July 2020 and 16 July 2020 updating the amount of the subsidy provided by the Royal Government of Cambodia for the garment and tourism sectors annexed to the notification via Wing (Cambodia) Limited Specialised Bank in Khmer Riel. The amount of subsidy varies with the suspension period.Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 21 July 2020
In the line with Sub-Decree No. 101 dated 15 July 2020 issued by the Royal Government of Cambodia on the Approval of a Public Holiday from 17 to 21 August 2020 for Public Officials, Employees and Workers, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has issued Prakas No. 242/20 MLVT.Prk dated 16 July 2020 (“Prakas”) on 17 to 21 August 2020 Public Holiday to Substitute the 2020 Khmer New Year Public Holidays.
Pursuant to the Prakas, all employees from any factory/enterprise are permitted to take paid leave from 17 to 21 August 2020 as replacement for the postponed Khmer New Year public holiday which was originally scheduled from 13 to 16 April 2020Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 21 July 2020
The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has issued four notifications, one on 6 July 2020, two on 8 July 2020, and another on 9 July 2020 updating the amount of the subsidy provided by the Royal Government of Cambodia for the garment and tourism sectors annexed to the notification via Wing (Cambodia) Limited Specialised Bank in Khmer Riel ("KHR"). The amount of subsidy varies with the suspension period.Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 14 July 2020
The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has issued four notifications, one on 6 July 2020, two on 8 July 2020, and another on 9 July 2020 updating the amount of the subsidy provided by the Royal Government of Cambodia for the garment and tourism sectors annexed to the notification via Wing (Cambodia) Limited Specialised Bank in Khmer Riel (“KHR”). The amount of subsidy varies with the suspension period.Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 14 July 2020
The term “the new norm” is widely used in mainstream media and can be said to have become synonymous with social distancing, the application of face masks, body temperature checks, etc. In the context of employment, this new norm can be associated with the Work-From-Home ("WFH") arrangements that allow employees to discharge their duties and obligations from home. Needless to say, the second quarter of 2020 has seen a sharp rise in the percentage of employees with WFH arrangements, particularly those from the service sector.
With the gradual lifting of government restrictions, we are now witnessing more economic sectors reopening. Things are slowly but surely reverting to “the old norm”. That said, there are businesses that continue to allow their employees to opt for WFH arrangements.
In this Update, we examine some of the challenges businesses face in the context of employment laws and highlight the need for effective WFH policies to be created and implemented.Malaysia | Workplace & Employment | 08 July 2020
The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has issued two notifications dated 23 June 2020 and 25 June 2020 updating the amount of the subsidy provided by the Royal Government of Cambodia for the garment and tourism sectors annexed to the notification via Wing (Cambodia) Limited Specialised Bank in Khmer Riel ("KHR"). The amount of subsidy varies with the suspension period.Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 30 June 2020
In our previous Update on the Recovery Movement Control Order, we have highlighted some of the initiatives implemented by the Government of Malaysia under the National Economic Recovery Plan ("PENJANA"). Further guidance on the initiatives relating to employment have since been released by the relevant regulatory bodies and government agencies.
In this Update, we discuss in further detail the initiatives introduced under PENJANA to assist employers and employees during this period of recovery of the country's economy.
With effect from 1 October 2020, the Ministry of Manpower will require all employment agencies in Singapore ("EAs") to comply with the fair recruitment requirements set out in the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices ("TGFEP") when recruiting on behalf of their clients. The TGFEP contains fair and merit-based employment guidelines that all Singapore-based organisations are expected to abide by.
These new guidelines will be imposed as new licensing conditions on the EAs, and non-compliance may result in demerit points, suspension or revocation of an EA licence or prosecution.
This Update highlights the new licence conditions that EAs must comply with to ensure fair hiring.Singapore | Workplace & Employment | 26 June 2020
On 16 June 2020, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training issued two notifications updating the amount of the subsidy provided by the Royal Government of Cambodia for the garment and tourism sectors annexed to the notification via Wing (Cambodia) Limited Specialised Bank in Khmer Riel (“KHR”). The amount of subsidy varies with reference to the suspension period.Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 25 June 2020
The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training issued a notification dated 9 June 2020 updating the amount of the subsidy provided by the Royal Government of Cambodia (“RGC”) to 17,052 employees of 50 factories/enterprises in the garment and tourism sectors annexed to the notification via Wing (Cambodia) Limited Specialised Bank in Khmer Riel (“KHR”). The amount of subsidy varies with reference to the suspension period.Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 19 June 2020
On 1 June 2020, the Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") was lifted and Metro Manila was placed under General Community Quarantine ("GCQ") until 15 June 2020.
On 29 May 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment ("DOLE") announced that under the GCQ, it will resume the processing of all Alien Employment Permit ("AEP")-related applications through its newly launched online AEP portal. AEPs which expired during the ECQ may be renewed within 45 working days after the lifting of the community quarantine without penalty. As part of its COVID-19 mitigation and containment efforts, DOLE issued its guidelines on the online submission of documentary requirements for AEP applications.
On 1 June 2020, the Bureau of Immigration ("BI") also lifted the previous suspension of all visa-related transactions, including the filing for the application or extension of 9(a) Visa, 9(g) Visa, and visa downgrading. However, under the GCQ, all applicants are required to reserve an appointment online for all visa-related transactions; otherwise, they will not be allowed to enter the BI premises.Philippines | Workplace & Employment | 13 June 2020
The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (“MLVT”) issued notifications dated 26 May 2020, 1 June and 3 June 2020 on the amount of subsidy provided by the Royal Government of Cambodia (“RGC”) to employees whose employment contracts are suspended pursuant to an earlier Notification. This is the third-round of the RGC’s measures put out to support private sectors and employees heavily impacted by COVID-19.Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 08 June 2020
Although the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic is currently getting better, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has issued Notification dated 2 June 2020 as a reminder on COVID-19 preventive measures that factories and enterprises, in particular those of the garment industries, must continue to implement. These include (a) arranging to have temperature checks of all persons before entering the factories and enterprises; (b) placing alcohols or hand sanitisers (gels or soaps) at the entrances of the workplaces; and (c) reminding employees to cover their mouth and nose with handkerchief, scarf or elbow when coughing or sneezing.Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 08 June 2020
CAMBODIA: Suspension of Payment of Back Seniority Payment Prior to 2019 and Seniority Payment for 2020
The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training issued Notification No. 018/20 dated 2 June 2020 on the Suspension of the Payment of the Back Seniority Payment prior to 2019 and the Seniority Payment for 2020 (“Notification”). This Notification was implemented in the line with Point 7 of the Royal Government of Cambodia’s press release dated 7 April 2020 which provides for additional measures to assist the private sector and employees heavily impacted by COVID-19.Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 08 June 2020
The global economy has taken a staggering hit following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Country after country has announced full lockdowns or issued a multitude of orders intended to limit the movement of people.
As the pandemic shows signs of being brought under control in some countries, governments have begun looking to the future, cautiously seeking to restart their economies without triggering another outbreak. With ten member firms throughout Southeast Asia, Rajah & Tann Asia is uniquely positioned to address queries that employers and businesses with cross-border dealings within this region of high economic interconnectivity and interdependency may have, particularly with regard to the anticipated reopening of businesses.
Our member firms hail from the jurisdictions of Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
This COVID-19 Publication brings together our lawyers from all member firms to answer the following questions:
1. Is your jurisdiction under some form of movement control restrictions, whether full or partial ("Restrictions")? If so, what Restrictions are in place?
2. Are businesses open and functioning during these Restrictions?
3. If businesses are not allowed to open, how long is this situation expected to last?
4. What conditions need to be in place to allow businesses to open and continue to function, and what are employers’ legal obligations in this situation?
5. What is the risk to employers who reopen their premises for business? What additional measures should employers take to manage their liabilities?Regional | Workplace & Employment | 29 May 2020
On 29 May 2020, the Employment (Returns on Salary Reduction Measures) Notification 2020 ("Notification") came into effect. The Notification requires any employer with more than 10 employees who intends to reduce operating expenses by implementing measures that result in the reduction of salary of any employee to submit a return to the Commissioner for Labour in a prescribed form within the prescribed period.
The Ministry of Manpower has earlier issued an advisory titled "Advisory on salary and leave arrangements during Circuit Breaker" that among other things, set out notification requirements for cost-saving measures with salary reductions during the circuit breaker from 7 April 2020 to 1 June 2020. The Notification applies to employers in Singapore with effect from 29 May 2020.
This Update outlines the requirements in the Notification.
Singapore | Workplace & Employment | 29 May 2020
In order to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand, the Thai government announced an emergency decree which applies to all areas in Thailand from 26 March to 30 April 2020 (“Emergency Decree”), and has since been extended to 31 May 2020. Under the Emergency Decree, the Thai government has issued several notifications in order to prevent and suppress the outbreak.
One of the most recent notifications is from the Ministry of Labour Re: Referral of unsettled labour disputes to the labour relations committee for settlement and prohibition on employers to cause a lockout or employees to cause a strike during the period of the emergency situations in accordance with the laws on public administration in emergency situations (“Notification”). The Notification came into force on 8 May 2020 and is widely understood to be intended to prevent a potential spread of the disease by prohibiting employee strike action, while also allowing employees who were previously subject to a lockout to return to work.Thailand | Workplace & Employment | 21 May 2020
Following the Multi-Ministry Taskforce's announcement that the circuit breaker measures would be progressively-eased over the coming weeks, the Tripartite Partners have issued Safe Management Measures on 9 May 2020 ("Measures") for employers to establish a system to ensure a safe work environment and minimise the risks of further outbreaks. The Measures issued by the Tripartite Partners must be implemented by employers which are allowed to resume operations, including employers allowed to operate during this period and those permitted to do so after 12 May 2020. For employers resuming operations after the end of the circuit breaker period, the Measures must be in place before they can resume operations at the workplace. An outline of the Measures is set out in this update.Singapore | Workplace & Employment | 13 May 2020
CAMBODIA: Guideline on Health and Livelihood Protection of Cambodian International Migrants and Returnees During COVID-19 Containment
On 29 April 2020, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training issued Guideline No. 048/20 MLVT on Health and Livelihood Protection of Cambodian International Migrants and Returnees During COVID-19 Containment (“Guideline”). The Guideline mandates the returnees to, among other things, follow the guidelines of the competent authority at the land border and airport for health check measure implementation and 14-day quarantine after arrival, and contact the local authorities for intervention if any problem affecting their daily livelihood during the COVID-19 containment arises.Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 12 May 2020
PHILIPPINES: DOLE and DTI Issue Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 for Private Establishments Allowed to Operate during the ECQ and GCQ
The whole of Luzon has been under an Enhanced Community Quarantine ("ECQ") since 17 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines. On 30 April 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order No. 112 which approved the extension -- until 15 May 2020 -- of the ECQ over Metro Manila, Central Luzon (except Aurora), CALABARZON (comprising Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) and other high-risk provinces. Moderate and low-risk provinces, meanwhile, were placed under a less-stringent General Community Quarantine ("GCQ") until 15 May 2020.
On 30 April 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued interim guidelines to assist private institutions that are allowed to operate during the ECQ and GCQ in developing the minimum health protocols and standards in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.Philippines | Workplace & Employment | 07 May 2020
CAMBODIA: Quarantine Measures for Workers Taking Leave during the Khmer New Year and Returning Back to Work at Factories, Enterprises and Establishments
The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (“MLVT”) has issued Guideline No. 046/20 MLVT/GUI.CBN dated 17 April 2020 on the Quarantine Measures for Workers Taking Leave during the Khmer New Year and Returning Back to Work at Factories, Enterprises and Establishments (“Guideline”). Following the previous regulations of the MLVT and Ministry of Health, the Guideline requires all owners or directors of the factories and all workers to implement certain measures, such as providing isolation rooms for returning employees, and instructing workers to have health checks at the Health Control Centre.Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 30 April 2020
PHILIPPINES: DOLE Suspends Alien Employment Permit Processing and Allows Deferment of Payment of Holiday Pay for April 2020
In light of the enhanced community quarantine ("ECQ") implemented in the Luzon Region due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) suspended the processing and issuance of alien employment permits (AEP) and allowed employers to defer the payment of holiday pay to employees. The ECQ was implemented on 16 March 2020 and would be in effect until 30 April 2020. On 24 April 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte announced another extension of the ECQ in high-risk areas which include Metro Manila, Central Luzon, the CALABARZON Region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), the island of Cebu, the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, and Davao City, among other areas until 15 May 2020.Philippines | Workplace & Employment | 28 April 2020
The Movement Control Order by the Government of Malaysia which started on 18 March 2020 has been extended till 28 April 2020 (“Restriction Period”).
In this update, we discuss the initiatives introduced by the Government to assist employers and employees during the Restriction Period, and the updated FAQs issued by the Ministry of Human Resources as a result of consultations with stakeholders in the wider industry.Malaysia | Workplace & Employment | 15 April 2020
CAMBODIA: Requirement for Workers Transportation Permit and Work Performance during Domestic Travel Constraint
Following the Royal Government’s Order No. 02 ORD dated 9 April 2020 pertaining to the domestic travel constraint, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training issued a notification on the use of workers transportation permit and work performance during such domestic travel constraint.Cambodia | Workplace & Employment | 13 April 2020
SINGAPORE: Laws Enforcing Telecommuting, Safe Distancing (and More) at Workplace Take Effect 2 April 2020
On 1 April 2020, the Infectious Diseases (Workplace Measures to Prevent Spread of COVID-19) Regulations 2020 ("Regulations") were issued to give legal force to prevention measures against the spread of COVID-19 at the workplace. The Regulations apply throughout the control period of 2 April 2020 to 30 April 2020, inclusive of both dates. Its rapid implementation indicates the gravity of the current situation and the government's determination to ensure compliance. The Regulations apply to employers, principals, and occupiers, and set out prevention measures against the spread of COVID-19 to be put in place at the workplace, including safe distancing and telecommuting.
[Note: Following the Singapore Government announcements on 3 April 2020, new enhanced safe distancing measures will take effect on 7 April 2020. This relates most importantly to the need to work from home. The measures have been significantly tightened, with the critical point that “reasonably practicable” has been removed. The measures critically result in the requirement to close all workplace premises and retail outlets except for certain specified essential services. Non-compliance will result in an offence. This Update must thus be read with reference to these new measures.]
On 25 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced a state of emergency under the Emergency Decree, which gives authority to the Prime Minister to announce further implementing notifications and measures to combat the COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand. Such notifications and measures will affect entrepreneurs or employers directly and indirectly. In light of the COVID-19 situation, we set out below our legal comments concerning employment issues affecting employers and employees. Thailand's response to COVID-19 must be monitored on a daily basis; however, we have set out below the status as at 31 March 2020.Thailand | Workplace & Employment | 31 March 2020
Since the issuance of the Movement Control Order by the Government of Malaysia ("MCO”), business has slowed substantially for essential services providers and come to a standstill for others. The prospect of the MCO being extended beyond the initial restriction period, i.e. 18 March 2020 to 31 March 2020, is weighing heavily on the minds of business owners. The need to minimise expenses and conserve cash at a time when revenue has fallen substantially has given rise to questions of what employers can do to secure their business and at the same time support their employees.
In this Update, we examine various laws and pronouncements and explain their effects on the employer-employee relationship. We analyse in particular the two FAQs issued by the Ministry of Human Resources on 19 March 2020 and 20 March 2020.Malaysia | Workplace & Employment | 23 March 2020
SINGAPORE: Latest - Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment in View of COVID-19
In view of COVID-19, the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trade Union Congress and Singapore National Employers Federation issued an update to their Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment ("Advisory") on 11 March 2020. The Advisory sets out possible measures to manage excess manpower and is intended to help employees continue to retain a job amidst a likely prolonged difficult period even as employers work towards keeping their businesses and employees' jobs viable. We highlight some of these updates below.Singapore | Workplace & Employment | 17 March 2020
The COVID-19 outbreak across the world has had a major impact on the economy in many countries, with the Ministry of Trade and Industry downgrading Singapore's 2020 GDP growth forecast to -0.5% to 1.5% on 17 February 2020. With the economy and businesses taking a beating, all quarters in Singapore are holding on to the hope that the situation in Singapore will stabilise soon. The Singapore Government has taken a practical approach to contain the spread of the virus while urging the public to continue business as usual where possible.
As businesses adapt to the evolving situation, we address some frequently asked questions on an employer's obligation to comply with the Singapore Government's defensive measures and to provide a safe workplace for their employees while maintaining business continuity.
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