Pregnant woman fired 3 days into the job, accuses tuition centre at Tiong Bahru of discrimination

The pregnant lady reported the issue to the police.

Alfie Kwa | January 13, 2022, 07:21 PM

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A pregnant woman poured out her grievances via a Facebook post after being fired by a tuition centre located at Tiong Bahru.

The woman said that she received her employment termination letter without being sufficiently informed of the reasons and felt that she was discriminated.

The now-deleted post shared on Jan. 10 had sparked many netizens to comment about this issue.

Here's the post:

What happened?

The lady, who wishes to be known as Tan, is now six months into her pregnancy.

Speaking to Mothership, Tan said that she started her new job as a part-time front desk receptionist at the said tuition centre, on Jan. 5, 2022, after being offered the job on Dec. 28, 2021.

However, she received a call from the tuition centre on Jan. 10 informing that her work contract had been terminated.

She wrote in her post:

"The human resources (HR) staff said that due to safety purposes, because of my pregnancy, and disagreements about the employment contract, they decided to terminate me. I didn’t quite catch the disagreement part from the HR and I didn’t prompt further."

After the call, they sent her an email to confirm her employment termination, stating that her last day will be on Jan. 24.

Tan could not grasp what went wrong, making her feel sad and frustrated.

"I burst out in tears and told my husband who was beside me. What did I do wrong ? Why do they have to give me false hope on the employment and suddenly take it away?"

She also noted that she is fully vaccinated and should be allowed into the workplace. She added:

"Being pregnant is already not easy however pregnancy shouldn’t hinder us, mothers, from working."

She has since reported the incident to the police. The Singapore Police Force confirmed with Mothership that they are currently looking into the matter.

Speaking to Mothership, the human resource (HR) representative from the tuition centre revealed that Tan was fired as the company was not satisfied with her performance.

Tuition centre said she was fired due to "unsatisfactory work performance"

The HR representative said that the centre was aware of her pregnancy and was "fully prepared to support her".

She stated that the reason for the termination notice was due to "unsatisfactory work performance during probation period".

In a document seen by Mothership, the centre provided these reasons for Tan's termination:

  1. Her intention to bypass MOM regulations to receive a salary without CPF.
  2. She was late for her job interview.
  3. Informing the centre that she may not be able to start work, two days before her first working day.
  4. Rescheduling of her first work day to Jan. 5 from Jan. 4.
  5. Informing them that she may be unwell and may not be able to go to work at 2:08am on Jan.8.

On her request to receive a salary without CPF, Tan explained that it was suggested because she was not given maternity leave.

"Therefore, I asked nicely if she would be able to reconsider not giving CPF contribution or at least give me maternity leave since the pay is only S$9 per hour and per month I was only given working 80 hours," she added.

This is their WhatsApp conversation below:

To the second point, Tan argued that she was eventually on time for her job interview and was "being considerate" to inform the tuition centre that she was sick prior to the interview.

On postponing the start date, Tan said that she had a glucose blood test and was unwell during the test on Jan. 4, which was why she had requested to reschedule her first day to Jan. 5 instead of Jan. 4.

And for the last reason pointed out by the tuition centre, Tan confirmed that she sent a late text on Jan. 8, but she added that she eventually made it to work that day.

On maternity leave

Mothership sought further clarification from the tuition centre on whether maternity leave was given to Tan.

When asked if Tan was given maternity leave, the HR representative said that the question was "irrelevant" in this case as she only worked at the tuition centre for three days.

According to the MOM website, employees should be granted 16 weeks of government-paid maternity leave if they have served a continuous period of at least three continuous months before the birth of their child.

For employees who have worked less than three continuous months before the birth of their child, they are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave as long as they are covered under the Employment Act.

Part-time employees are also entitled to paid annual leave if they have completed three months of service.

In the document, the centre showed a WhatsApp conversation between the HR staff and director which revealed their intention to pay her maternity leave, if she has worked over three months, as stated by MOM.

Mothership understands that the tuition centre and Tan are in touch to resolve their dispute.

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Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash.