Employment Bill

Bill No. 21/1968

Read the first time on 15th May 1968.
An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to employment.
Be it enacted by the President with the advice and consent of the Parliament of Singapore, as follows: —
Short title and commencement
1.  This Act may be cited as the Employment Act, 1968, and shall come into operation on such date as the Minister may by notification in the Gazette appoint.
2.  In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires —
“child” means a person who has not completed his fourteenth year of age;
“collective agreement” means an agreement as defined under the Industrial Relations Ordinance, 1960 (Ord. 20 of 1960);
“confinement” means the delivery of a child;
“constructional contractor” means any person, firm, corporation or company who or which is established for the purpose of undertaking, either exclusively or in addition to or in conjunction with any other business, any type of constructional work, and who or which is carrying out such constructional work for or on behalf of some other person under a contract entered into by him or them with such other person, and includes his or their heirs, executors, administrators, assigns and successors;
“constructional work” means any building and civil engineering work and includes repair, maintenance, alteration and demolition work;
“contract of service” means any agreement, whether in writing or oral, express or implied, whereby one person agrees to employ another as an employee and that other agrees to serve his employer as an employee and includes an apprenticeship contract or agreement;
“contractor” means any person who contracts with a principal to supply labour or to carry out the whole or any part of any work undertaken by the principal in the course of or for the purposes of the principal’s trade or business;
“day” means a period of twenty-four hours beginning at midnight;
“dental officer” means a dentist registered under the Registration of Dentists Ordinance (Cap. 197) and employed by the Government;
“dependant” means any of the following members of an employee’s family, namely, wife, husband, father, mother, child and any adopted or illegitimate child living with or dependent on him;
“domestic servant” means any house, stable or garden servant or motor car driver employed in or in connection with the domestic services of any private premises;
“employee” means a person who has entered into or works under a contract of service with an employer and includes a workman and any officer or servant of the Government included in a category, class or description of such officers or servants declared by the President to be employees for the purposes of this Act or any Part or section thereof; but does not include any person employed in a managerial, executive or confidential position or any person belonging to any other class of persons whom the Minister may from time to time by notification in the Gazette declare not to be employees for the purposes of this Act;
“employer” means any person who employs another person under a contract of service and includes —
(a)the Government in respect of such categories, classes or descriptions of officers or servants of the Government as from time to time are declared by the President to be employees for the purposes of this Act;
(b)any statutory authority;
(c)the duly authorised agent or manager of the employer;
(d)the person who owns or is carrying on or for the time being responsible for the management of the profession, business, trade or work in which the employee is engaged;
“employment exchange” means any Government employment exchange under the control of the Commissioner for Labour;
“hours of work” means the time during which an employee is at the disposal of the employer and is not free to dispose of his own time and movements exclusive of any intervals allowed for rest and meals;
“industrial undertaking” comprises public and private undertakings and any branch thereof and includes particularly —
(a)mines, quarries, and other works for the extraction of minerals from the earth;
(b)undertakings in which articles are manufactured, altered, cleaned, repaired, ornamented, finished, adapted for sale, broken up or demolished, or in which materials are transformed, including undertakings engaged in ship-building, or in the generation, transformation or transmission of electricity or motive power of any kind;
(c)undertakings engaged in constructional work;
(d)undertakings engaged in the transport of passengers or goods by road, rail, sea, inland waterway or air, including the handling of goods at docks, quays, wharves, warehouses or airports;
“Inspecting Officer” means any person invested with powers under this Act to make inspections;
“machinery” includes all oil engines, gas engines, steam engines, and any other machines in which mechanical movement, either linear or rotated or both, take place, steam boilers, gas cylinders, air receivers, steam receivers, steel containers, cast iron underfired vulcanizers, refrigerating plants, pressure receivers, all appliances for the transmission of power by ropes, belts, chains, driving straps or bands or gearing, electrical generators and electrical motors;
“maternity allowance” means the amount of money payable under the provisions of this Act to a female workman in relation to her confinement;
“medical officer” means a medical practitioner employed by the Government;
“overtime” means the number of hours worked in any one day or in any one week in excess of the limits specified in Part IV of this Act;
“place of employment” means any place provided by the employer where work is carried on, for or on behalf of an employer, by an employee;
“principal” means any person who, in the course of or for the purposes of his trade or business, contracts with a contractor for the supply of labour or for the execution by or under the contractor of the whole or any part of any work undertaken by the principal;
“quarters” means any building provided or intended to be provided for a workman to live in either temporarily or permanently and includes any room or building used or intended to be used whether communally or privately for the purposes of cooking, eating, washing or bathing and any latrines and urinals;
“rate of pay” means the total amount of money including allowances to which an employee is entitled under his contract of service either for working for a period of time, that is, for one hour, one day of eight hours, one week, one month or for such other period as may be stated or implied in his contract of service, or for each completed piece or task of work, but does not include —
(a)additional payments by way of overtime payments;
(b)additional payments by way of bonus payments; or
(c)travelling, food or house allowances;
“salary” means all remuneration including allowances payable to an employee in respect of work done under his contract of service, but does not include —
(a)the value of any house accommodation, supply of light, water, medical attendance, or other amenity, or of any service excluded by general or special order of the Minister published in the Gazette;
(b)any contribution paid by the employer on his own account to any pension fund or provident fund;
(c)any travelling allowance or the value of any travelling concession;
(d)any sum paid to the employee to defray special expenses entailed on him by the nature of his employment; or
(e)any gratuity payable on discharge or retirement;
“sub-contractor” means any person who contracts with a contractor for the supply of labour or for the execution by or under the sub-contractor of the whole or any part of any work undertaken by the contractor for his principal, and includes any person who contracts with a sub-contractor to supply labour or to carry out the whole or any part of any work undertaken by the sub-contractor for a contractor;
“sub-contractor for labour” means any person who contracts with a contractor or sub-contractor to supply the labour required for the execution of the whole or any part of any work a contractor or sub-contractor has contracted to carry out for a principal or contractor, as the case may be;
“underground working” means any undertaking for the extraction of any substance from under the surface of the earth;
“wages” means salary;
“week” means a continuous period of seven days;
“workman” means and includes —
(a)any person, skilled or unskilled, who has entered into a contract of service with an employer in pursuance of which he is engaged in manual labour, including any artisan or apprentice, but excluding any seaman or domestic servant or watchman or security guard;
(b)any person other than clerical staff, employed in the operation or maintenance of mechanically-propelled vehicles used for the transport of passengers for hire or for commercial purposes;
(c)any person employed partly for manual labour and partly for the purpose of supervising in person any workman in and throughout the performance of his work:
Provided that when any person is employed by any one employer partly as a workman and partly in some other capacity or capacities, such person shall be deemed to be a workman unless it can be established that the time during which such workman has been required to work as a workman in any one salary period as defined in Part III of this Act has on no occasion amounted to or exceeded one-half of the total time during which such person has been required to work in such salary period;
(d)any person specified in Schedule A to this Act;
(e)any person whom the Minister may, by notification in the Gazette, declare to be a workman for the purposes of this Act;
“young person” means any person who has completed his fourteenth year of age but who has not completed his sixteenth year of age.
Appointment of officers
3.—(1)  The Minister may appoint an officer to be styled “the Commissioner for Labour” (hereinafter in this Act referred to as “the Commissioner”) and also one or more officers to be styled “Deputy Commissioner for Labour”, “Principal Assistant Commissioner for Labour” or “Assistant Commissioner for Labour”, who, subject to such limitations as may be prescribed, may perform all duties imposed and exercise all powers conferred on the Commissioner by this Act, and every duty so performed and power exercised shall be deemed to have been duly performed and exercised for the purposes of this Act.
(2)  The Minister may also appoint such other officers with such powers as may be necessary for carrying into effect the provisions of this Act.
Rules and orders
4.  The Minister may from time to time make rules and orders for the conduct of the duties of officers under this Act.
Minister may restrict application
5.  The Minister may by notification in the Gazette declare that this Act or any Part or provisions thereof shall not apply to any premises or class of premises specified in such notification.
Existing law not affected
6.  Nothing in this Act shall operate to relieve any employer of any duty or liability imposed upon him by the provisions of any other written law for the time being in force or to limit any powers given to any public officer by any other written law.
Invalidity of contracts of service
7.  Any variation of any agreement or contract of service which was in force on the date of the coming into operation of this Act to provide for the salary payable to an employee to be separated into ordinary salary and overtime payments shall be illegal, null and void.