Warning Letters

Why are warning letters given to employees in Singapore usually? As an HR practitioner in Singapore, do you require employees to sign warning letters?

Warning letters are typically issued to employees in Singapore for various reasons related to misconduct, performance issues, or breaches of company policies.

Some common scenarios where warning letters may be given include:

Poor Performance

When an employee consistently fails to meet job expectations, achieve targets, or fulfil responsibilities as outlined in their job description.


This can include behaviour such as insubordination, dishonesty, harassment, discrimination, or other violations of company policies or codes of conduct.

Attendance Issues

Persistent lateness, unauthorized absence, or excessive absenteeism without valid reasons can lead to warning letters.

Quality of Work

If an employee’s work consistently fails to meet the required standards in terms of accuracy, completeness, or quality, a warning letter may be issued.

Breach of Policies

Violations of company policies related to areas such as safety procedures, data security, confidentiality, or use of company resources.

Unprofessional Behaviour

This includes behaviours like inappropriate language, conduct, or interactions with colleagues, clients, or customers.

Failure to Follow Instructions

When an employee repeatedly disregards instructions from supervisors or fails to follow established procedures.

Regardless of the reason, warning letters serve as formal communication to the employee, highlighting the specific concerns or issues, outlining the expected changes in behaviour or performance, and documenting the consequences if improvements are not made.

They are part of the disciplinary process aimed at addressing problems in the workplace while providing employees with an opportunity to rectify their conduct or performance.

As an HR practitioner in Singapore, it’s important to follow the guidelines and regulations set by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) regarding disciplinary actions and warnings.

While there isn’t a specific requirement to have employees sign warning letters in Singapore, it’s a common practice for documentation and clarity purposes.

Having employees sign warning letters serves several purposes:


It provides written evidence that the employee has been made aware of the issue and the consequences of further misconduct.


Signing the letter acknowledges that the employee understands the concerns raised and the expectations moving forward.

Legal Protection

It can serve as evidence in case of future disputes or if further disciplinary action is required.

It is essential to ensure that the warning letter complies with Singapore’s employment laws and follows due process.

This includes clearly stating the reasons for the warning, outlining the expected behaviour, and allowing the employee to respond or provide their perspective.

However, an employee may refuse to sign the warning letter.

This refusal does not invalidate the warning letter or the issues raised in it.

When an employee refuses to sign, employers can take additional steps to ensure that there is documentation proving that the warning was issued and received. These steps can include:

  1. Having a witness present during the delivery of the warning letter.
  2. Sending the warning letter via registered mail or email, ensuring there’s a record of delivery.
  3. Noting the refusal to sign on the letter itself, along with the date of refusal, and having a witness sign to confirm the refusal.

In any case, the employer must ensure that the process is handled fairly and following the company’s disciplinary procedures, as well as any applicable laws and regulations.

Documentation should be kept diligently to provide evidence of the steps taken should the matter be questioned in the future.

Ultimately, while not explicitly mandated by law, having employees sign warning letters is a best practice in HR management in Singapore to ensure transparency and accountability in the disciplinary process.

As an HR practitioner in Singapore, do you require employees to sign warning letters?

Yes: 71.43%

No: 14.29%

Sometimes: 14.29%

To acknowledge & note the seriousness – Mary

We don’t need employees to sign on the warning letter however he/she must sign on the PIP (Performance Improvement Plan). – EL

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