eOASIS is Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP's legal information website for clients, containing business and legal information prepared from a practitioner's viewpoint. It has four different modules, updated regularly, and materials range from commentaries on the latest legal developments to key legal and business information.

What's new on eOASIS

Employers Required to Notify Salary Reduction Measures
On 29 May 2020, the Employment (Returns on Salary Reduction Measures) Notification 2020 ("Notification") came into effect. The Notification requires any employer with more than 10 employees who intends to reduce operating expenses by implementing measures that result in the reduction of salary of any employee to submit a return to the Commissioner for Labour in a prescribed form within the prescribed period.

The Ministry of Manpower has earlier issued an advisory titled "Advisory on salary and leave arrangements during Circuit Breaker" that among other things, set out notification requirements for cost-saving measures with salary reductions during the circuit breaker from 7 April 2020 to 1 June 2020. The Notification applies to employers in Singapore with effect from 29 May 2020.

This Update outlines the requirements in the Notification.  

The global economy has taken a staggering hit following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Country after country has announced full lockdowns or issued a multitude of orders intended to limit the movement of people.

As the pandemic shows signs of being brought under control in some countries, governments have begun looking to the future, cautiously seeking to restart their economies without triggering another outbreak. With ten member firms throughout Southeast Asia, Rajah & Tann Asia is uniquely positioned to address queries that employers and businesses with cross-border dealings within this region of high economic interconnectivity and interdependency may have, particularly with regard to the anticipated reopening of businesses.

Our member firms hail from the jurisdictions of Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. This COVID-19 Publication brings together our lawyers from all member firms to answer the following questions:

  1. Is your jurisdiction under some form of movement control restrictions, whether full or partial ("Restrictions")? If so, what Restrictions are in place?
  2. Are businesses open and functioning during these Restrictions?
  3. If businesses are not allowed to open, how long is this situation expected to last?
  4. What conditions need to be in place to allow businesses to open and continue to function, and what are employers’ legal obligations in this situation?
  5. What is the risk to employers who reopen their premises for business? What additional measures should employers take to manage their liabilities?

Payment Token Derivatives on Approved Exchanges Now Regulated under SFA and Safeguards for Retail Investors
On 18 May 2020, the Securities and Futures (Prescribed Underlying Thing) Regulations 2020 ("Regulations") came into force to expand the regulatory scope under the Securities and Futures Act ("SFA") to cover derivatives contracts that reference payment tokens as underlying assets ("Payment Token Derivatives") offered on an approved exchange in Singapore.

This follows from positive feedback received in response to the "Consultation Paper on Proposed Regulatory Approach for Derivatives Contracts on Payment Tokens" issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS") on 20 November 2019. The consultation exercise which ended on 20 December 2019 sought comments on whether Payment Token Derivatives should be regulated under the SFA and if so, the additional measures to safeguard retail investors. On 15 May 2020, MAS issued its "Response to Feedback Received on the Proposed Regulatory Approach for Derivatives Contracts on Payment Tokens".

This Update highlights the scope of the Payment Token Derivatives regulated under the SFA and the measures to safeguard retail investors.  

COVID-19 & Insurance: Coverage Issues in a Pandemic World
It has been only two months since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, but the world has probably seen only a fraction of the likely long-lasting economic and social impacts of the pandemic. Whilst various social distancing and lockdown restrictions imposed across the world have slowed down the rate of outbreaks, myriad financial losses to both corporate entities and individuals have already skyrocketed. Many affected persons are likely to turn to and eagerly expect their existing insurance coverage to defray some or all of these losses.

This Update discusses the following potentially difficult coverage issues under some of such existing (and pre COVID-19) commercial insurance policies:

  • Loss of profit/revenue and business interruption;
  • Event cancellation;
  • Credit insurance;
  • Public liability; and
  • Management liability.

Singapore Enhances Legal Framework for Maritime Casualty Claims
As a global maritime hub, Singapore stands as one of the key jurisdictions for admiralty and shipping dispute resolution. On this front, the Singapore government has pushed ahead with new laws to further enhance the legal framework.

  • The introduction of legislative amendments to support Singapore's adoption of the International Convention on Salvage
  • The implementation of the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims under Singapore law.
These developments mean that Singapore will be better able to hear salvage claims and allow enforcement of such claims through ship arrest. They also serve to increase the limits of liability for claims against shipowners. Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP's Shipping and International Trade Practice is firmly established in the field of maritime disputes, and parties seeking to better understand these new developments or to take advantage of the country's enhanced dispute resolution capabilities should feel free to approach the team for consultation.

In this Update, we look at the key aspects of the recent legislative amendments and their potential impact on the shipping industry. 

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