As someone born and educated in Asia, I am excited by the CIPD opening an office in Singapore. This is a part of the world where in apparent contrast to the west, people have a positive sense of purpose and are ambitious to see continued economic growth and the rising living standards that ensue. My annual visits to East Asia never fail to impress on me how dynamic this region is. Having no natural resources of its own, Singapore relies on its people to deliver. When in HR we say “people are your assets”, this mantra has greater substance in Singapore than anywhere else. The Skills Development Levy, required by law from all employers, helps employees upgrade their skills. Employers and employees are also required to pay into the Central Provident Fund which covers health insurance and retirement. One observation that can be made is that the Employment Act is not applicable to every employee or employer. Senior managerial positions and almost all government staff are excluded from any of the conditions under this law. Furthermore the Act ensures that those earning below SGD2000 per month have protection to limit them to a maximum of 44 working hours a week and have a minimum of seven days annual leave in their first year rising thereafter. Those earning more than SGD2000 do not qualify for these legal rights; their terms are set by their individual employment contracts with their employers. The rules for this group tend to be specific to each business. In the West, where I work, it appears that the employment laws and regulations are more prescriptive for employers and for all employees, not just lower earners. This seems to be an interesting distinction. On the other hand the anecdotal impression is that Singapore is one where the state plays a big role in society. Which is closer to the truth? I would very much like to know what Singaporeans think. After all Singapore is thriving – even in these troubled times, it achieved a growth rate of 14.5% last year. Something, somewhere over in Singapore must be going right.
I would like to support these sentiments. Kudos to the CIPD for making the move into this region.
As detailed in the above post, Singapore has an intricate HR compliance environment. More broadly, this can be said be said of APAC as a whole. With 22 countries, 22 different regulatory systems and 22 different sets of cultural considerations, the challenge is laid down to all HR practitioners with regional oversight.
Good luck to all involved. This could prove to be an indispensable resource for APAC HR professionals moving forward.