Our July update includes:

  • an update from Hong Kong and the recent case of Law Ting Pong Secondary School v Chen Wai Wah [2021] CA 873. The case follows the UK position in Cavendish Square Holding BV v Talal El Makdessi [2016] AC 1172, and considers whether notice clauses in contracts of employment (including those that apply before the employment are commenced) are penalty clauses (spoiler alert: they’re not);
  • over in Malaysia employers will have heaved a sigh of relief at the Industrial Court’s ruling in Kestatuan Eksekutiff Bank Pertanian Malaysia Berhad, Semenanjung v Bank Pertanian Malaysia Berhad Award No 1152 of 2021 as it affirmed the position that discretionary payments remain discretionary, and that even where a business has had a profitable previous 12 months, this does not mean they are required to award discretionary annual increments – see here for further details;
  • in the PRC, the General Office of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security has issued a new set of guidelines on the execution of electronic employment contracts. As remote working becomes increasingly widespread, employers should work towards implementing the Guidelines, summarised here;
  • our compliance check this month grapples with the hot topic of employee vaccinations, and reminds employers of obligations under the new Advisory on Covid-19 Vaccination in Employment Settings in Singapore;
  • our Asia Comparative Article this month takes a look at work rules and employment contracts and compares and contrasts the rules in Singapore, Hong Kong, PRC, Thailand and Indonesia. 

Launch of our new Malaysia Notes Blog

Herbert Smith Freehills has launched a new Malaysia Notes blog, which you can find at https://hsfnotes.com/malaysia/ or via the “More blogs” link above.  The blog will include news on the latest legal developments in Malaysia.  Click here to subscribe to receive updates by e-mail as soon as new material is posted.

If you missed Chris Parsonsinspiring session on Managing Work Related Stress in the Era of Covid-19, you can access the recording here – well worth a listen.

As always, if we can assist with your employment law needs across the region, please do not hesitate to reach out. 


Key Contacts

Fatim Jumabhoy
Fatim Jumabhoy
Partner, Singapore
+65 6868 9822



Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is licensed to operate as a foreign law practice in Singapore. Where advice on Singapore law is required, we will refer the matter to and work with licensed Singapore law practices where necessary.