Sometimes staffing makes you smile

Most of what you read about staffing in Singapore centers around frustration - the difficulty in finding staff, the trouble with hiring good staff, and the limitations imposed by the foreigner quota.

Once in awhile you get a note that makes you feel warm.

"Hi Sir, you make me cry now, you know..anyhow the result is...but really I wanna say that THANKS SIR SO MUCH.

Hoping good news come to me and I'll work for Sir in the very next day!
Good night sir"

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It's an applicant from Vietnam who has recently finished studying and has been on a short trainee stint at a restaurant here in Singapore.

It's refreshing to see the enthusiasm in her message.  I hope her permit gets approved!

How do I hire staff?

I know, I know… I am always writing about staffing woes.  I’m sure the three readers of this blog are tired of reading about this topic, but I think it’s a reflection of what one of the biggest worries is when it comes to running a restaurant – you’ll always be worried about staffing.

Anyway, Standing Sushi Bar is expanding!  We’re heading to Orchard Road in late September and will be launching a new concept (so not called Standing Sushi Bar but something like xxxx by Standing Sushi Bar).  I’ll definitely be writing more about this later, but first… staffing!

Since I’m opening a new restaurant, I need to hire lots of people.  Service manager, chefs, service crew, bartenders, dishwasher, etc.  This is no easy task, and with the recent government changes, we are maxed out on our quota for foreigners.

I have put job ads out.  Current ones running are on JobStreet and Gumtree.  Certainly I will be putting more up in newspapers and other internet sites.  The JobStreet ad has been running since July 24 and the Gumtree ads I just put up this morning.

In each ad I state that the positions are for Singapore citizens and permanent residents only.

There have been 25 responses so far.  All are non-citizen and non-permanent resident foreigners from the Philippines and Myanmar.  There have been 0 responses from Singapore citizens or permanent residents.

This is what I state about pay and experience in the JobStreet ad:

“We pay based on experience, and we pay well to secure the right talent.
All levels are welcome!
Must be a Singapore citizen or permanent resident”

I also make it a requirement that the applicant speaks English fluently.  This might be limiting the people that apply.  I have no idea.

So, if you have any advice on how I can tweak my ad or how to find a Singapore citizen or permanent resident who would like to be part of this new concept, let me know!

I feel bad receiving CVs from all these foreigners, many who have great experience in F&B, but I can’t hire them.

Hiring and Staffing Woes

The number one issue that causes the most frustration has to be staffing… particularly when it comes to hiring.  If this were Indonesia there would be no problem, I guess with a population that size there are always people willing and happy to work.

In Singapore, hiring is a constant challenge.  Here’s a glimpse into some of the staffing issues that crop up in the F&B line.  For those of you thinking of opening a place, get ready for this.

The No-Show

In the past 2 weeks I’ve had 3 people apply for a job, request for an interview, and then not show up at the appointed time.  After 15 minutes I will try to call and message them to see if they are still coming.  Most don’t answer the phone or respond.

Today I had an interview scheduled at 4 PM with a 21 year old guy.  He didn’t send a CV but only 3 glamor photos of himself, his name, contact, and “Experiences:F&B.” (What a summary).

Daniel Tan - Copy

4:20 PM rolled around, he wasn’t there.  I tried calling him and he didn’t answer.  I sent him a text message: “Hi <xxxxxx>, were you supposed to be coming for an interview at Standing Sushi Bar?”

He responded with one word: “Busy”

The Rotten Apple

Hired a kitchen chef as we were (perpetually) short-staffed at Queen Street.  He was on payroll for a total of 10 days.  Within those 10 days he took 2 days of MC and 1 day of sudden unpaid leave.  He also fought with every staff member while there insisting that the processes and ways of cooking in the kitchen were wrong.  So he basically just stood in the corner and complained.  Yet simultaneously asked the staff, “Do you like me? Do you think I’m not good enough?”  Culminating in the staff telling him, “Please just try doing the job.”  He responded with, “Your boss won’t fire me because he needs the quota.”  The following day he didn’t show up for work and didn’t answer any phone calls.  I fired him.

The Poacher

Trying to hire staff is so difficult that other restaurants and employment agencies are resorting to poaching employees.  If you want to try to poach a person, please do it with some type of honor – that is don’t come into my restaurant or use up my business’s resources trying to steal staff.  There has been a lady (named April) calling daily for the past few days and asking my staff to quit and join her.  She even calls during the lunch rush when obviously it is going to impact my flow of business.  April, please do not call the restaurant again or I will be letting the other restaurant owners in Singapore know about you and who you represent.

How to hire the locals?

Today’s Straits Times has two articles about the manpower shortage the F&B industry in Singapore is facing as well as the results of a survey of manpower agencies indicating which jobs are disliked by Singaporeans.

The jobs that Singaporeans shun, revealed

“She said one employer was offering $2,000 instead of the market rate of $1,300 to hire a Singaporean as a lorry driver to deliver pastries. But there were no takers, said Ms Jebal of non-profit group NuLife Care and Counselling.

One unemployed man asked whether he could start later because he had a function to attend.

Another said he had no money to take public transport to work. The firm offered to give him an extra $50 a day for a week, but he declined.

Ms Jebal said other reasons for Singaporeans turning down jobs include the distance they would have to travel to their workplaces and reporting to work early.”

The other article can be found in the paid online section of the Straits Times.  After their suit against Yahoo filed last week I figure I shouldn’t copy / paste content.

Delivery contact

Standing Sushi Bar at Marina Bay Link Mall is a little over a year old now.  Every day I wake up and think how we should have a delivery service.  Based on other restaurants in the Raffles Place area, the folks there are telling me that could add 25% to my daily sales.

Unfortunately it’s easier said than done getting a delivery service set up.  Manpower is the biggest issue – I need more chefs to handle the pre-packaged takeaway preparation as well as the additional delivery orders.  I also need staff to act as delivery runners.

Of course I have to build a delivery website as well.  Calling to order delivery isn’t feasible as during the lunch rush it’s noisy and all the service staff are engaged with the diners in the restaurant.

I’m looking to “outsource” the delivery runner position.  Does anyone have a contact which would provide the delivery staff to me in exchange for 20% of the selling price?  That seems to be an easier way to start the delivery service.  I know there are companies like roomservicedeliveries and other delivery aggregators but they take 30% of the sale and add all kinds of surcharges to the customer.

Kids these days!

I must be getting old.  I want to go on a rant about kids these days.  Specifically 15 year olds.

If you ask any F&B person they’ll tell you that the manpower situation in Singapore is dire.  Citizens and PRs simply aren’t applying for the jobs.

I’ve been short-staffed on service crew for what seems like forever, so I decided to offer a high hourly wage for starting service crew members to see if more people would apply.  (7 SGD versus what seems to be an industry norm of 5.50 – 6.00 SGD).

Received 4 applicants who are Singapore citizens.  I suppose the timing of school holidays played a part – these were all 15 year olds applying.  Of course this is 4 more citizen applicants than my series of ads that ran on all the major job portals, so I was feeling happy.

I hired all 4.  3 of them lasted 1 day or less.  1 is still working at the restaurant (thank goodness).

Kid #1 and #2:  They were friends so applied together.  45 minutes late to the interview and extremely rude on the phone when they called me to find out how to get to the restaurant.  I figured I would give them a chance though.

First day of work – when asked to do anything, kid #1 would respond with “Why?” and ask why the other staff member (who was doing something else) couldn’t do it.  Horribly bad attitude, no initiative, and simply rude.  So I fired her.

Kid #2, second day of work. 1 hour into the shift says, "I think I’m sick, I’m going to leave.”  Let’s just say I was highly skeptical that she was actually sick.  So I fired her.

Kid #3: She applied via e-mail and on Wednesday afternoon we confirmed she would start on Friday morning.  Friday morning came, and she didn’t show up.  I wrote her and asked what happened and have not received a response.

The quest for staff continues.

Still hiring: Service Crew and Sushi Chefs

In the never-ending quest for staff, Standing Sushi Bar is looking for sushi chefs and service staff (waiter / waitress).

Ideally we will find full-time candidates, but if you know anyone interested in part-time, we are hiring for our lunch shifts (generally 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM).  Part-time pay is 7 SGD an hour for the service crew.

Full-time pay is dependent on experience.

Hiring Singapore citizens or permanent residents only

Hiring: Sushi Chefs, Kitchen Staff, and Service Crew

I should just change the title to be “Hiring: all positions!”

Standing Sushi Bar is looking for more staff!  As many of you know the F&B labor market is very tight, so as an incentive to refer / recommend people, we are offering a 100 SGD referral amount to anyone that introduces us to a new staff member (who works with us for at least 3 months).

We’re looking primarily for full-time positions but am open to receiving people interested in part-time positions as well.

Must be a Singapore citizen or permanent resident.  I would love to open the positions to everyone but since I’m at my quota level I can not hire any foreigners. (I know this is not going to stop foreigners from applying, but hey, at least I’m open about it).

Service Crew: We are looking for people of every experience level including a manager.  Please note that it is a requirement to speak English.

Kitchen Staff: Inexperienced to mid-level experience.

Sushi Chef: Senior-level to junior level (to be trained up – but have at least 2 years experience)

Please send CVs to eat@standingsushibar.com

So what happens when you exceed your quota?

Well, talk about pressure.  I received a very unpleasant letter from the Ministry of Manpower recently. 

As you may know, there is a quota for how many Singapore citizens or permanent residents you need to employ before you can hire a foreign worker.  For ease of understanding, let’s just say you need 1 Singapore citizen / PR for 1 foreign worker.

I’ve had the same number of Singapore citizen / PR workers as I’ve had foreign workers so I have been able to meet my quota.

In the past 3 months we have had staff insubordination issues which led to the dismissal of two Singapore citizen / PR workers.  I became 2 foreign workers over the quota.

This left us short-staffed, so I immediately put job ads out (JobsDB, Gumtree.sg, Straits Times Classifieds (expensive!!)). In these ads I state that we are only hiring Singapore citizens and permanent residents.

Few applied; essentially the ones that did I immediately hired.  Then they flaked out (see previous entry about what to expect when staffing a restaurant).  Of course daily I receive numerous applications from foreigners whom I can’t hire because I have no quota.

Being short-staffed sucks – the workers who are there end up working long hours and getting stressed out, preparing the food is slower, servicing the tables is slower, and generally the customer experience is affected.

Then I get this letter, which really felt as if I was getting kicked while already on the ground.  The letter alerted me that I was 2 foreigners over my quota and that if I didn’t fix this within two weeks then the Ministry of Manpower would cut two of my foreign staff and ban me from hiring foreigners for 6 months.

Are. You. Serious.

Thankfully during this period I hired 3 more Singapore citizens / PRs (hopefully they stay for awhile!  I found them not through the job ads but friends of existing staff) so these measures won’t take effect, but had I not, I (and the business) would basically be screwed.

A small business that is short-staffed and desperately trying to hire… is now told that they will lose *more* of their staff and won’t be able to hire the folks that apply (foreigners) for 6 months?!?  Then what happens… the existing staff burn out and quit or you go broke from paying a ton of overtime or you think about opening less days of the week and incur the wrath of the landlord since it states in the lease how long you’re supposed to be open.

Suggested alternatives:

- Do not *ever* have the government come in and fire staff.  Let the existing staff remain until their work permit is up for renewal.  If the quota is not met then, the government can decline renewing the permit.

- Fine the company a reasonable amount.  I understand the pressure for having a quota (a little pointless in the service sector, to be honest), but axing staff due to quota issues is only going to kill a small business.  Paying a fine is also crippling but at least the business can remain operational.

Hiring staff? Get ready for this…

For the umpteenth time a new (or not even officially joined) staff member has left us in a lurch.

For anyone new to F&B and hiring staff, get ready for the following situations… unfortunately these are the norm rather than the exception:

- Person accepts the job offer and sets a start date.  At some point they decide they don’t want the job anymore.  They won’t tell you until you call them on their scheduled first day of work and they say, “Oh, I decided I didn’t want the job and that I would stay at my old place.”  Thanks, I could have hired someone else in that month I waited for you to join.

- Schedule interview.  Don’t show up for the interview.

- First day of work.  Call in the morning and say they’re taking unscheduled leave and they’ll start the next day.  Do the same thing the following day.

- Work 1 day and then quit (and by quit I mean just not showing up or answering their phone again since they don’t want to say they’re quitting).

- Express dismay at adhering to strict work times.  Guess what, if you’re part of the kitchen team and you stroll in at 2 PM when you were supposed to be there at 10:30 AM it means all our customers have finished lunch already!

- Quit because of above mentioned working hours.

Ah, when I think about these things it makes me antsy so I shall end this blog entry.

Calculation of Foreign Worker Quotas

I’m always looking this up so I figured I would stick it here.  For those of you who don’t know, in order to hire a foreign worker (from the “approved” list of countries for the service industry), you have to employ enough Singapore citizens / permanent residents to meet the ratio of 1 citizen to 1 foreign worker. (Current as of August 2011)

Here is a very basic example – if you have 50 local employees you can hire 50 foreign employees, making a total workforce of 100 employees.

Total workforce = 100 staff (including locals and foreigners)

That 100 staff is comprised of:

Local staff = 50

Foreign staff = 50

Now, to make it a little more confusing, within the foreigner work force there are different allocations for the type of permit (Work Permit or S Pass) and also what country they are from.

If you have 100 total employees, 10 (out of the 50 foreign workers) can be on work permits from China (10% of total workforce).

If you have 100 total employees, 25 (out of the 50 foreign workers) can be on S Pass (25% of total workforce). 

If you have 100 total employees, 50 (out of the 50 foreign workers) can be on work permits from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, or Taiwan. 

(Side comment – the Filipinos working in restaurants are on S Pass; they are not eligible for Work Permit)

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Below information is from the Ministry of Manpower

Computation of quota
  1. A company/firm's Central Provident Fund (CPF) account is used by the Controller of Work Passes to determine its local workforce and foreign worker (FW) entitlement. The company/firm should ensure that CPF contributions under this account are made only to persons actively employed by the company/firm.
  2. The FW entitlement (quota) is based on the size of the total workforce in the company/business. 'Total workforce' refers to the sum of the local workforce, S Pass holders and Work Permit holders that are subjected to the sectoral Dependency Ratio. 'Local workforce' refers to those full-time employees (Singapore citizens or permanent residents) who have worked for a full month, and are receiving prompt monthly salary/CPF contributions which are similar to the industry norm. Two part-time employees are considered as one local full-time employee. (Current as of August 2011: a full-time employee in the service sector is one that is making 850 SGD a month or more.  I can not find information on what pay constitutes a part-time employee, if anyone has this information please let me know!)

    For example, a company that employs two full-time local employees and two part-time employees will have a total local workforce of three persons. Employees who receive CPF contributions from multiple employers will not be considered in the calculation of the workforce.

  3. A company/business' quota balance is calculated based on the size of its local workforce for the past three months (in the same CPF account). The past three months refer to the latest CPF contribution records, excluding the current and last month.

    For example, the quota for August 2011 is computed using the months of April, May and June 2011.

Hiring sushi chefs and bar staff

Hi all, Standing Sushi Bar is looking for sushi chefs and bar staff.

Sushi Chef: Minimum 1 year of experience, adaptable, and looking to learn from experienced chefs.  Need to be able to work well under pressure and in a fast-paced environment.  Must speak English.

Bar staff: Articulate, sociable, and trustworthy.  Willing to work late (midnight+). No previous experience necessary.  Must be fluent in English.

Salaries are dependent on experience

If interested please send your CV to eat@standingsushibar.com

Please note these positions are open only to Singapore citizens and permanent residents.  We don’t have quota for work permit / s pass at the moment.

Where’s the service staff?

Great article by Rebecca Lynne Tan regarding the shortage of manpower hitting the service industry.

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From the Straits Times

Jul 10, 2011

Wait... where's the service staff?

The staff crunch at eateries is so bad that restaurateurs have had to cut back their operating hours

By Rebecca Lynne Tan

Do not be surprised the next time you go into your favourite restaurant and see its owner clearing tables.

Restaurateurs here are facing such severe service staff crunches that some are having to double as runners, delivering food to tables and helping to clear them.

Some have also had to limit operating hours or close off seating sections to cope with the manpower shortage.

When LifeStyle visited newly opened bistro-restaurant The Dempsey Brasserie in Dempsey Hill two weeks ago, the owners were seen pouring drinks behind the bar counter and clearing tables.

Opening hours have been cut too - it is open only for dinner on weeknights, but all day on weekends.

Says the restaurant's co-owner Terence Tan, 40: 'I can't even begin to open for breakfast or lunch on weekdays - we just don't have the capacity to, in spite of having advertised for staff.'

Over at two-week-old eatery Wild Oats at Punggol Park, its chef-owner Willin Low, 39, had to enlist the help of five friends last weekend to clear tables and serve food. The group, which included bankers and marketing managers, worked an average of five hours each night over Saturday, Sunday and Monday night.

Chef Low says: 'We probably need about 15 service staff to run our Punggol Park outlet smoothly, but that weekend, we had only eight wait staff.'

He adds that he had to close a third of the 300-seater restaurant because of his staff shortage.

F&B players blame it on the tight labour market.

Mr Andrew Tjioe, executive chairman of the Tung Lok Group which employs about 800 staff, says: 'We are experiencing full employment (in the market) now, which makes it difficult to find staff. It was tough in the last couple of years with the opening of the integrated resorts, but it is just as bad now.'

Chef Low says: 'Everyone in the industry is fighting over the same number of staff.'

The service sector foreign worker quota, where foreign workers can make up only 50 per cent of the company's total work force, does not help, nor does the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) recent increase of the foreign worker levy and qualifying salaries for the S Pass and Employment Pass, say restaurateurs.

Foreign worker levies now start from $180 for skilled workers and $280 for unskilled workers, up by $10 each.

Qualifying salary threshold for S Pass applicants increased 11.1 per cent, while the qualifying salary thresholds for the Employment Pass (EP) were raised between 12 and 14.2 per cent across the three EP categories.

Mr Keith Loh, 37, who owns restaurants such as Bedrock Bar and Grill and Oriole Cafe and Bar at the Pan Pacific Serviced Suites in Somerset Road, says: 'The increase squeezes our operating margins and we find it hard to transfer the costs to the customer.'

Adds Tung Lok's Mr Tjioe, who says he will still hire foreign workers because he has not much choice: 'It increases my costs, but it doesn't change the way I hire.'

But MOM offers some relief for pass renewal. Its spokesman says: 'Employment Pass and S Pass holders affected by changes to the qualifying salary criteria in July 2011 will be granted a renewal of up to two years if they renew their passes with their current employers.'

That might be good news for operators. But getting the passes renewed is not always easy, they say.

Mr Loh tells of one of his baristas, a Nepalese whom he had trained from scratch, who had his S Pass renewal rejected after working with the company for two years. The barista, who had won a local latte art competition, had to be let go.

Restaurants lament how well-trained staff, who have been with the company for anywhere between two and six years, have also had work pass renewals rejected, which then leaves them having to retrain new staff from scratch.

Restaurateurs say that when they renew work passes, it is because they deem the worker to be good, otherwise there is little incentive for re-hiring them.

MOM says it reviews the eligibility criteria for work passes from time to time. Changes were made in recent years to motivate employers to reduce their reliance on low-cost, low-skilled foreign workers, invest in productivity and improve the quality of their foreign manpower.

Companies can log on to its online Employment/S Pass Self-Assessment Tool (sat.mom.gov.sg) to check if their potential employees meet the requirements.

Finding Singaporeans for the job comes with its own set of challenges.

Says The Dempsey Brasserie's Mr Tan: 'There is a distinct lack of passion among Singaporeans in becoming service professionals. The root cause is people's perception of service professionals. But being a server does not equate to being a servant.'

Operators point out that low pay could also be one reason it is tough to employ Singaporeans. Operators say staff no-shows, especially among Singaporeans, are common - they almost expect their employees not to show up for work. Some might work for a week and disappear without a trace.

The MOM suggests that F&B employers looking to recruit approach the relevant Continuing Education and Training (CET) Centres for job placement services, as well as career centres at Community Development Councils (CDCs) and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), which provide job-matching services for unemployed Singapore residents.

F&B players hope more Singaporeans will consider going into the profession, and learn the ropes and rise through the ranks from the bottom up, just like in any other trade.

Mr Loh says: 'It takes just as much skill and professionalism to be in this industry as any other.'

Still, in spite of the staff shortage, new restaurants continue to sprout like mushrooms.

And with high rental overheads and operating costs, a new restaurant cannot afford to wait for an optimal number of staff before it opens.

Mr Tjioe adds that the Tung Lok Group, like many other restaurants, opens its new restaurants even when it is under-staffed.

He says: 'If we have to close a section, we will do that so that we can cope with the service.'

rltan@sph.com.sg

Intern

I’m thinking about finding an intern. There have been a lot of ideas rattling around in my head and I’d like to make headway on them. Thoughts on how to improve customer experience at the sushi bar, ways to increase awareness (most important at the moment), and starting a whole new branch of a menu. As a one-man operation on the administrative and office side, the paperwork is piling up and there’s little time left to push the business forward.

Anyway, before I actually try to find an intern I wanted to talk about the idea of an internship. It seems in Singapore, companies treat interns quite poorly – viewed more as a source of free labor with little thought given to the training and education aspect that is supposed to accompany an internship. After all, in return for low or no pay, the intern receives hands-on experience and guidance. What I’ve observed is that companies bring on interns, have them do the grunt work and then chuck ‘em out once the internship period is over.

When I was working at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, we had a solid internship program. What I found interesting was that after a summer internship, the intern was supposed to be proficient enough to pass a job interview for a full-time position at the company. If the intern wasn’t able to pass the interview, it was the intern’s mentor (the full-time employee) that would receive a blemish on their record (like not being able to have an intern for a couple years or not be considered for a management role).  This drove the behavior of really coaching and guiding the intern.

So before I start searching for an intern I want to make sure that I’m prepared to provide an experience that’s great for the intern as well as for the business.

Standing Sushi Bar is hiring restaurant staff

Wanted
Sushi Chefs
Kitchen Cooks
Service staff (waiter, waitress)
Bartender
Assistant Manager

Interested parties, please e-mail me with your CV (or description of your experience, if any) at howard@standingsushibar.com.  You may also call 6333 1335 to schedule an interview at our 8 Queen Street location (or just show up any day at 2:30 pm).

Full-time and part-time positions available.

O citizens and permanent residents, where art thou?

So now I own two restaurants. The existing branch at One Raffles Place and a brand new one at 8 Queen Street. The first restaurant is open, the other is not.

While the renovations for the new restaurant are complete, I am unable to open because I simply can not find local service staff.

The restaurant at 8 Queen Street (8QSAM) is under a new company. Singapore dictates a new company must hire only citizens and permanent residents for the first 3 months. After 3 months of paying the Central Provident Fund (CPF), a company is then able to hire foreigners based on a ratio of number of citizens / PRs employed to foreigner employed.

I read about how people are worried that foreigners will be taking jobs from Singaporeans. Maybe in some industries that’s true but in the food & beverage sector it is not.

Last week I placed an ad via CATS (the classified ads system for Singapore Press Holdings). The job ad ran in the Straits Times classifieds over the weekend and also online via ST701.com.

I had 95 people respond to that job ad – 95 people that wanted a service crew position.

Guess how many were Singapore citizens?

ZERO.  ZERO OUT OF NINETY-FIVE.

Two out of the ninety-five applicants were Singapore permanent residents. Only one showed up for an interview.

A few months ago I placed an ad with JobsDB. Similar results – out of something like 230 applicants only 4 were Singapore citizens or permanent residents.

This is crippling for a new small business.

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Suggestion: Rather than require new companies to start off by hiring only citizens / permanent residents, allow them to hire foreigners also. Give a year (or two) for the company to hire enough citizens to accommodate the ratio required by the Ministry of Manpower.

What I learned about Food Hygiene

Recently I attended an all-day food-hygiene course.  Every food handler is required to complete this course.  After the Geylang rojak disaster, the government has been getting stricter with its enforcement.

foodhygiene1[1]

Generally, and thankfully, most of the information is common sense and serves as a reinforcement to what you know about food safety.

My instructor had a novel way of drilling the consequences into our head.

“What happens if you don’t maintain proper food hygiene?  The public gets sick.  Do you know who is a member of the public?  Your family.  If you don’t maintain food hygiene, YOUR GRANDMOTHER WILL DIE.”

This was the statement that concluded every section of the course.

At Standing Sushi Bar, we firmly believe in not killing grandmothers.  So rest assured we will maintain top-notch food hygiene standards.

 

CPF says what?

Every company in Singapore needs to register and pay their local employees CPF (Central Provident Fund).  CPF is basically a retirement fund, similar to 401K in the United States. The company deducts some of your salary and puts it in your CPF account, the company contributes a percentage on top of that, and the government chips in with some more funds.  Years later, you’ll either use some of that money for a down-payment on an HDB flat or you’ll die never getting to enjoy this pile of cash that is building up in an account you can’t touch.

retirement[1]

They omitted information in the registration process. Below is my e-mail asking for clarification:

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Hello,

I am trying to register my company for “New Employer’s First CPF Contribution.” (Form CPF/1).  It is UEN / ACRA Registration Number: <UEN>

On form CPF/1, it mentions this: “You are strongly encouraged to sign up for CPF e-Submission to make your first CPF payment. To do so, please submit Form CPF/1 with the CPF e-Submission Registration form and the Application for Interbank GIRO form at least 7 weeks before the due date of your first CPF payment.”

In order to receive a CPF Submission Code, I need to submit form CPF/1 first, correct?  But as mentioned above it says I should submit Form CPF/1 with the CPF e-Submission Registration form and the Application for Interbank GIRO.  However both those forms require a CPF Submission code.

Can I just send in the forms without the CPF Submission code and someone will fill those in upon assignation of the code?

                Thanks,
                   Howard

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The answer (I ended up calling them) is: Leave the submission code blank on the GIRO form and in the e-Submission Registration form.  They will fill in the CPF Submission code for you when issued.