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Epica Learn Series

Termination of Sensitive Role Employees in a Singapore Company

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Are you terminating services / resigning key employee. What care you should take?

Termination of jobs refers to the cessation of an employee's contract with a company. An employee can be dismissed from work of his own free will or on the grounds of a decision taken by the employer. However, an Employer Singapore Company must know and understand that no matter which party initiates the termination of employment, it is legally warranted by employment contract and entails certain duties and responsibilities that are required to be taken care of by the employer. This ensures that the farewell remains smooth and doesn't affect the rights of any of the parties involved.

Otherwise, an aggrieved employee who was holding a key position in your Singapore Company can adversely affect your business, during his process of termination/resignation. Therefore, there is a need to set and follow some standard operating procedures to handle the termination process of employees who were at the key positions and might have access to sensitive data and systems related to your business.

And this is where this article chips in, which will elaborate upon handling/management of termination of a key employee at Singapore Company.

So, let's begin! But first…

What Does the Singapore Employment Law say About the Termination of Employees?

Termination of an employee in Singapore will most likely be governed by the Employment Act, unless the individual is in an executive or managerial position earning more than S$4,500 a month, a domestic worker, a seaman or a member of Government staff. For those employees not covered by the Employment Act, the termination must follow company policy and their employment contract. It is generally common practice in Singapore that company policy and employment contracts follow the law as set out in the Employment Act. Still, it is of prime importance to remember that this may not always be the case.

In Singapore, as in many countries, there is a distinction between an employee and an independent contractor. Only employees will fall under the ambit of the Employment Act Singapore and whether an individual should be considered an employee or not depends upon the terms of their employment.

Why Should You Be Concerned About Key Employees while they Leave the Job?

Suppose the employee who has resigned or is being terminated was holding a key position at your Singapore company then besides the points concerning his employment contract you should be concerned about following issues that can affect your business.

Termination of sensitive role employees - Concerned about key

Confidential Data Getting Compromised

Due to the nature of appointment or position in Singapore company, an employee may have access to the confidential data which the company want to keep to itself. Any leakage of company's business-related confidential data can prove disastrous. Therefore, as a Singapore Company, you don't want the Employee whose termination/resignation is under process to access that data as He / She can not be trusted the same way as before due to obvious reasons.


Termination of sensitive role employees - Interaction with employees

Interaction with Existing Employees

As a Singapore Company, you may not want the Employee in question to interact with the existing employees. This may on one side appear a little severe, but it is important as there have been incidents where a key appointment holder at Singapore company, once left, took along the whole teams adversely affecting the former company's functioning with bulk resignations.


Termination of sensitive role employees - Interaction with clients

Interaction with the Company's Clients

The Singapore Company may not want the Employee in question to interact with their clients. The stealing of clients while leaving a job is, unfortunately, common practice, and you don't want your Employee who has already resigned or being terminated to do so with your company.

How to Deal Termination of Key Employees?

The termination is a sensitive issue and must be handled with extreme care when the individual involved has had held key positions in your company. Below are few viable tips for managing the key employees while their termination is under process.

Termination of sensitive role employees - Leave on notice period

Send Employee on Leave for the Notice Period

One of the simplest ways to handle a key employee's resignation / termination is to send him on leave. The Singapore company may ask the Employee to proceed on leave for a period equivalent to the span of the notice period.

Remember! This leave has to be paid as the Employee has not asked for it; instead, it has been given to him by you as Employer Singapore Company. So, if the notice period is two months, you'll send the individual on two months paid leave and politely ask them not to have contact with the existing employees or any of the company clients during the said period.


Termination of sensitive role employees - Data and devices

Restrict Access of all Office Systems, Data and Devices

In order to avoid the pilferage of company's sensitive data, you must, as a Singapore Company Employer, restrict access of the employees under resignation / termination to all the company's devices, data and systems like CRM System, accounting System and Customer databases. This way, an employee who is under the resignation/termination process will not be able to copy or download any data that is sensitive and requires limited access.

Note: This method is more useful and applicable when you are terminating the Employee. An employee who is putting up a planned resignation may be able to copy the sensitive data before revealing his/her intentions of quitting the job.


Termination of sensitive role employees - Take back given devices

Take Back the Company Given Devices (Laptops, Tablets, Smartphones)

An employee who puts up resignation or is being terminated from the Job at Singapore company should be asked to deposit all the company-owned devices that are given to him/her owing to the nature of his appointment / position in the company. This way, sensitive company information on devices can be secured.


Termination of sensitive role employees - Employee undergoing resignation

Employee undergoing Resignation / Termination Process Should be Escorted at the Workplace

A Singapore company may also appoint a security escort for the Employee who is being terminated or has tendered his resignation while he is at the Workplace to keep an eye on his/her activities. In doing so, the employees are escorted to their office/desk and out of the Workplace by security. This practice though awkward, ensures that the Employee neither access the sensitive data without permission nor copies/downloads it.


Termination of sensitive role employees - Non compete contract

Sign a Non-Compete Contract

While appointing an individual at a key position in the Singapore company, signing a non compete contract alongside the employment contract surely comes in handy to ensure the safe custody of your Singapore Company's data.

A Non-Compete Agreement is an arrangement that forbids an individual from getting employed with a competitor or being a competition for a specified amount of time after leaving the job. Non-compete contracts are upheld when the agreement between the Singapore company and the Employee ceases, and the employer wants to deter the Employee from competing against them during their next position, whether working with a rival in the same industry or beginning another enterprise in the same sector (and enticing company employees to leave with them).

Remember! Unlike many western countries where non compete contract has no legal value; Singapore law recognises non-compete agreement as a legal document.

The Upshot

Resignations/ terminations are always a sensitive issue for the employer. As Singapore Company, you must handle them with utmost diligence and due patience, especially when the Employee in under resignation / termination process has been on a key appointment in your company. This is because even the slightest of mishandling may result in vindictive actions from the employees that can affect your company in ways more adverse than you may have figured. Above points, if followed properly, can help you deal with employee terminations / resignations without putting your Singapore company's sensitive data on the line.

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