From 1 January 2017, Singapore employers who hire at least 10 workers must inform the Ministry of Manpower within five working days after issuing the retrenchment notice to the fifth employee if five or more are retrenched within any six-month period. Failure to notify within the required time frame is an offence and those convicted may be fined up to $5,000.
This new regulation comes under the Workforce Singapore Agency Act, and signals the government's anticipation of a shift to an economy where jobs will be more regularly made redundant and retrenched workers are expected to face difficulties in matching their skills to new jobs. The notifications are intended to provide timely retrenchment information to the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) so that affected workers can be helped faster. Globally, increasing automation combined with the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence present challenges to jobs at all levels. What other precautions are governments, businesses and civil society taking to ward against civil unrest and support the transition to a digital world?