SINGAPORE: An employee sought help on social media after his employer “only allowed him to carry forward his 2023 leaves to the end of February 2024.”

Expressing his frustration on the r/askSingapore platform on Thursday (April 4), he explained: “how his employment contract explicitly stated that he could carry forward any unused annual leave to the subsequent year, with the provision that any remaining leave not utilized within the following calendar year would be forfeited.”

However, his employer decided he could only use the remaining leaves until the end of February.

The employee also mentioned that he had conducted thorough research and discovered on the Ministry of Manpower’s official website that if an employer breaches a clause on the contract, either party—employee or employer—holds the right to terminate the contract without providing notice.

He then shared, “I have also informed my HR and she said that she will check with the boss and ‘make some changes’ and I was like ‘contract how can suddenly edit one, I already signed it when I first joined’.”

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Feeling cornered by the situation, the employee raised the pressing inquiry of whether he could legitimately resign without notice and without being obligated to provide compensation in lieu of notice.

“A breach of contract means you can terminate and leave the company but the better option would be to work things out with your company”

In the comments section, Singaporean Redditors discouraged the man from resigning and suggested he try to resolve the issue with his employers instead.

One individual said, “A breach in contract means you can terminate and leave the company but the better option would be to work things out with your company. Do you really want to burn your bridges this way.”

While another commented, “Maybe just a misunderstanding? Speak to the boss and ask. ‘My contract/company policy says X, you mentioned Y. Was there an update this, that I might have missed?’”

A third individual also shared his experience regarding changing the terms of contract, saying, “If they change the contract then u will need to sign again. Just don’t sign it no matter what.

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My ex-company once changed the notice period to 2 months from 1 month and told everyone to sign. No one signed and it remained at 1 month, lol.”

Some Redditors also mentioned that some contracts often include a clause stating that employee handbooks or HR policies can override the contract.

This means that if HR wants to modify a policy, they can do so without updating every individual contract, even for employees who have been with the company for decades.

One individual advised, “So check your employee handbook and HR website/ policies as well.”

What does MOM say? Can employers change the terms of the contract?

According to the Ministry of Manpower, employers can change the terms of the contract with the employee’s consent.

When terms need to be changed, both parties should discuss finding a solution that works for everyone, balancing what the business needs and what the employee cares about.

Once the revised terms are finalized, a new contract outlining these changes should be signed to avoid any potential misunderstandings or disagreements.

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If consensus cannot be reached, either party can provide notice and terminate the employment agreement.

Read also: Employee says, “My employer refuses to pay the last month’s salary despite me giving 3-month resignation notice”

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