Salary reduction


Dear HR Community,

Due to the current recession, we have decided to implement a salary reduction exercise.

As this is the first time that we are carrying this out I appreciate any advice or thoughts on how to effect this well.

And if you have sample templates on how to communicate salary reduction for all employees, that will be useful as well.

Thank you







Hi Adeline

Here are some ideas on how to implement salary reduction:

1. Explain why it is necessary for a pay cut to be undertaken at this time.

2. Make sure you inform everyone about the duration of the salary reduction i.e. for how long is it expected to last before a review.

3. If the management is also having a pay cut, it will be good to mention that.

4. For those who are not affected by the salary reduction, explain how others are trying to save their jobs.

5. Decide if you wish to make the pay cut a voluntary exercise.

Best Regards



Hi Adeline,

Are you aware that there is a Job Support Scheme (JSS) which will help companies co-fund salaries of local workers?

Hence, you may not need to consider reducing salaries.

If, however, your situation does require a salary reduction exercise, consider the following:

1. The quantum of the reduction

2. How will it be applied e.g. job levels, departments or functions

3. The rationale for the salary reduction i.e. due to a decrease in the working hours or volume of work etc

4. Communicate in a way that increases understanding and support.

I think the template can only be created after you have had an in-depth discussion with your management.

Lastly, check with MOM if you need to submit any documents when you implement salary reduction.

Hope the above helps.

Best Regards,




Implementing a salary reduction exercise during challenging economic times is a delicate process that requires careful planning and communication. Here are some steps and considerations to help you effect this well:

Clear Rationale: Ensure that the reasons for the salary reduction are clearly understood within the leadership team. The justification should be transparent and based on the financial realities facing the company.

Legal Compliance: Review the employment contracts and local employment laws to ensure that any salary reductions are done in compliance with legal requirements. In Singapore, for example, any salary reduction would typically require the employee's consent as it is a variation of the employment contract terms.

Assess Impact: Evaluate the impact of the salary reduction on employees. Consider a tiered approach where higher earners may see a larger percentage reduction compared to lower earners to demonstrate fairness and protect the livelihood of your lower-income employees.

Communication Strategy: Develop a clear communication plan. This should include individual meetings or written notifications that explain the situation, the need for salary reductions, how these were determined, and any potential future reviews.

Support Measures: Consider implementing support measures to help employees through the transition, such as financial planning services or temporary reductions in work hours.

Documentation: Prepare a notice of salary reduction which outlines the terms of the reduction, the duration, and any conditions for future restoration of salary levels.

Follow-Up: Keep the lines of communication open for employees to ask questions and express concerns. Monitor the situation and the morale of the workforce closely.

Regarding the communication templates, while HRSINGAPORE does not provide specific templates in this forum, we do offer HR consultancy services that can assist you in crafting appropriate communication and navigating through the legal and practical aspects of salary reductions. We can support you in developing custom templates that fit the specific needs of your organization.

In addition to that, I suggest considering our HR Certification, which can provide you or your HR team with a deeper understanding of effective HR strategies during tough economic times. We also offer HRLAW Seminars and HR Training courses that can provide insights into best practices for such exercises. Our HR Consultancy Services at HRSINGAPORE could be particularly useful in this scenario, as we can provide tailored support and guidance.

For more comprehensive assistance and to ensure you're adopting the best HR practices during this sensitive time, please reach out to us at HRSINGAPORE



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