It’s sure tempting to tender your resignation with a bang
Come on, admit it, we’ve all fantasised at some point about quitting your job, and tendering your resignation with such unmitigated gall and audacity, that you walk out of that door while your supervisor and colleagues stare at you slack-jawed in amazement.
But it is not always a good idea!
In this age of social media, attempting to create such viral videos could potentially backfire on you, and leave you open not only to criticism but also the possibility of being accused of allowing people to trespass on your former company’s property among other potential violations of the law, including but not withstanding being sued for libel and/or defamation.
That’s why you should quit your job responsibly!
A simple, cordial letter stating your intention to resign, and a small polite appreciation of your teammates and supervisors is usually sufficient. A graceful letter of resignation is still the better choice, especially if you are working in a small industry and you don’t want to burn your bridges.
How to Resign?
Based on Section 10 of Singapore’s Employment Act, you need to give prior notice to your employer of your intention to terminate your contract of service. A termination letter is mandatory. Any notice of termination must be in writing and must be given either by you or your employer. Further, the party initiating the termination of employment should provide the official letter containing the following information that clearly communicates their decision:
- Date of termination of employment.
- Last day of employment.
- Duration of notice period.
Next, the length for the prior notice should first follow any provision(s) laid out in the terms of the contract of service (i.e. the employment contract that you signed upon taking up the job). In the event the contract is silent, the Employment Act is the best place to look in the absence of such a provision.
The length of your notice period can range from one day’s notice to four weeks’ notice, as based on your existing length of service with the company. See the table below for a breakdown of how this is spelt out in Section 10, subsection 3 of Singapore’s Employment Act:
Time spent in service to your company: Less than 26 weeks 26 weeks or more, but less than 2 years 2 years or more, but less than 5 years 5 years or more
Length of Notice Period required to serve: One day's notice One week’s notice Two weeks’ notice Four weeks’ notice
Do note that the day you give your notice would also be included in the computation for the period of the notice. For instance, if you served less than 26 weeks in your current company, and you served your notice on a Monday, then you would be considered as having left your job on Tuesday.
Who is covered under the Employment Act?
The Employment Act covers all employees, foreign and local, so long as they are not:
- A manager or executive with a basic monthly salary of more than $4,500;
- A seafarer;
- A domestic worker or
- A statutory board employee or civil servant.
Aside from full-time employees, this Act will also cover part-time, contractual, and temporary workers.
Can I leave without serving my notice period?
Yes, you can! But you will need to pay your employer “salary in lieu of notice” – or a sum of money that you would have earned during the notice period.
For instance, if your employment contract says that you have to give one month’s notice, and you earn S$3,000 a month. But you need to quit your job urgently, so you decide to forgo the notice period. In that case, you would need to give your employer S$3,000 as “salary in lieu of notice”.
Is there anything else I should know before I draft my resignation letter?
In general, it’s a good practice to get your employer to acknowledge receipt of the termination notice so that you can prevent misunderstandings or disputes. You can do this by getting your employer to sign your resignation letter.
Also, employees have the right to resign at any time, by serving notice, or by compensating the employer with salary in lieu of notice. Under Section 108 of the Employment Act, it is actually an offence for employers to prevent employees from leaving their jobs. If convicted, such employers may be fined up to S$5,000, or jailed for six months or both. Moreover, the Court may also allow the full amount, or a portion of this fine to be paid to the employee.
Lastly, your employer cannot withhold your final salary if you have served your notice period – even if your employer claims that you have not done a proper handover of your duties and responsibilities. However, it is important that you should also play your part as a responsible employee to ensure that all handover duties are carried out.
Frequently asked questions
Question 1: What can I do if I face harassment at the workplace?
One can lodge a police report and/or seek civil remedies against the harasser if a contravention of a Protection from the Protection From Harassment Act’s provision is believed to have been committed. Victims of harassment can even apply for a Protection Order and an Expedited Protection Order. Further, the victim of harassment can also commence a civil suit against the harasser for monetary damages. One can both lodge a police report and to seek professional legal advice to commence formal legal proceedings.
Question 2: Can an employer change the place of work?
Generally, the place of work is decided by the employer based on the work requirements and needs of the business. Hence, from that perspective, it is reasonable the place of work can be changed. However, if both parties have previously agreed on a particular place of work, then any change in location should be discussed and agreed to by the employee. Ultimately, if no agreement can be reached, either party can still serve notice and end the employment relationship.
Have a question about employment issues?
If you need legal advice on employment issues, you may get a Quick Consult with Denny or other lawyers for a transparent, flat fee of S$49 and expect a call back within 1-2 days to get your questions answered.
This article is written by Denny Boey from Yu & Co LLC and edited by Tang Chee Seng from Asia Law Network.
This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to a practicing lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Interstellar Group Pte. Ltd. accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.