SINGAPORE - Changes to the Employment Act (EA), including increasing the non-workmen monthly salary ceiling from $2,000 to $2,500, took effect on Tuesday.

The increase allows for non-workmen, such as clerical staff and frontline service staff, to enjoy working hours-related protection, including overtime payment.

The changes to the Employment Act (EA), approved by Parliament in November 2013, also affect managers and executives earning up to $4,500 a month. With the change, this group of professionals will be protected against unfair dismissal and be able to claim sick leave benefits.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that the slew of changes are meant to achieve three objectives. They are:

i. Extend better protection to more workers and improve employment standards;

ii. Provide flexibility for employers to implement these changes; and

iii. Enhance MOM's enforcement capabilities to bring about better compliance with the EA

Employers can refer to the Guidebook on Changes to the Employment Act 2014 (available at www.mom.gov.sg/ea-assistance-2014), or sign up for seminars and workshops conducted by MOM's partners and other training providers. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that need more hands-on guidance can seek one-to-one assistance from the SME Centres supported by SPRING.

The issuance of itemised payslips will also be mandatory by 2016. A set of Tripartite Guidelines was issued on January 13 as a first step to encourage employers to adopt this workplace practice.

Employers can use the following tools according to their needs:

a) Hard copy payslip templates

Micro-companies with very few employees that wish to issue hard copy payslips to their employees may pick up free payslip template booklets, from the SME Centres or download them from the MOM website3.

b) Payslip software

SMEs with basic requirements that wish to start using IT solutions may try out a simple and free software ("SP-Pay")4 developed by Diploma in Business Information Technology students from the Singapore Polytechnic (SP). This is in line with IDA's efforts to promote ICT adoption by SMEs in their businesses. This application can be downloaded from the MOM website from 20 April 2014.

c) Other software

Companies that have more complex needs may consider commercially available solutions. If required, companies may seek funding support through the iSPRINT scheme administered by IDA and the Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme, administered by Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore for the adoption of such solutions.

Feedback on the tools provided can be sent to MOM_EA_Feedback@mom.gov.sg.