July 29, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Litigation & Dispute Resolution Partner and Co-Head of the Firm’s Employment Practice, Vernon Voon quoted in TODAY

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Litigation & Dispute Resolution Partner and Co-Head of the Firm’s Employment Practice, Vernon Voon quoted in TODAY article titled "MOM looking into alleged discrimination in RWS retrenchment exercise".  The article was first published in TODAY dated 29 July 2016. MOM looking into alleged discrimination in RWS retrenchment exercise Source: TODAY © Mediacorp Press Ltd. Date: 29 July 2016 Author: Rumi Hardasmalani ​​​SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is examining Resorts World Sentosa’s (RWS) recent retrenchment exercise that laid off about 400 jobs, as former employees continue to file complaints and appeals against the integrated resort with casino, alleging discriminatory practices, unfair dismissals as well as inadequate compensation.  While some appeals have been dismissed on various grounds, others are being followed up by the MOM. The former RWS employees whose cases are being examined by the MOM were paid below S$4,500 per month and are covered under the Employment Act. “The MOM is currently looking into the feedback received, alleging discriminatory practices in the retrenchment exercise at RWS,” a spokesperson at the MOM told TODAY. In May, 12,000-strong RWS began laying off workers at its casino operations as turnover from Chinese high-rollers continued to slump amid a corruption crackdown in China and a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. About 150 croupiers, 200 supervisors and two dozen pit managers have been let go in recent months. Some former employees alleged that Singaporeans were unfairly retrenched by RWS, as foreigners were retained and even sought after, pointing to an advertisement the company had placed in Malaysia for casino staff with pay offered in Singapore dollar terms.  “It is not fair for a company to fire Singaporeans and hire foreigners at lower Singapore dollar salaries … The advertisement was later pulled,” one complainant said. “We were fired on the spot without any satisfactory explanation on how individuals were chosen for the job cuts. The company’s Performance Level Assessment programme is unfair,” said an appellant who complained to the MOM last month.  In its e-mail responses to these appeals seen by TODAY, the MOM indicated that RWS is being engaged to find out more about the retrenchment exercise. The MOM said it was “waiting for the company’s response on how they have conducted the retrenchment exercise and their decision-making process on deriving the list of employees to be retrenched”.  “We will continue to engage with MOM to facilitate any clarification, if necessary ... We would like to reiterate that RWS has worked closely with the MOM and the Attractions, Resorts & Entertainment Union (AREU) to extend fair terms to all affected employees,” an RWS spokesperson said in response to TODAY’s queries.  According to employment and labour relations lawyer Vernon Voon, a partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, there are no regulations that require RWS to terminate foreign employees before Singaporean citizens and Permanent Residents, as companies retain the right to retrench based on their needs and the skill sets of their employees, and not by virtue of nationality.  However, he added: “Although the retrenchment per se is not unfair or unlawful, MOM should be astute to discern if RWS’ retrenchment exercise has unfairly targeted Singaporeans … or used criteria for retrenchment that are not objective and relevant to the job at hand.” AREU executive secretary Desmond Choo said that, despite the absence of a collective agreement, the affected Singaporean workers received retrenchment packages as well as additional S$1,500 training grant payouts that will help them secure jobs in other industries or in positions that may require retraining.  “Our union members also received 12 months’ union membership fees by the management, which will enable them to continue to enjoy union membership benefits such as scholarship and bursaries for their children, financial assistance as well as other social benefits. Additionally, AREU has also offered financial assistance and training opportunities to union members,” Mr Choo said.
July 26, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing congratulates our client, Putien for being awarded one star in the Michelin Guide Singapore 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing congratulates our client, Putien for being awarded one star in the Michelin Guide Singapore 2016 for their Kitchener Road branch. We are proud to serve a Michelin star restaurant in Singapore. Rizwi Wun, Partner in our Intellectual Property & Technology Practice, is the client partner for Putien.
July 11, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing congratulates RHT i-Assets Advisory CEO for being named among the world’s leading Intellectual Property strategists

RHT i-Assets Advisory (“RHT i-Assets”), a full service Intellectual Property advisory and a subsidiary of RHT Holdings, announced that its Chief Executive Officer, Dr Jasmine Kway, has once again been named among the world’s leading Intellectual Property (IP) strategists in the 2016 edition of IAM Strategy 300 — The World’s Leading IP Strategists. Published annually by Intellectual Asset Management (IAM), the guide recognises IP professionals from around the world for their best-in-class expertise that maximise the value of their clients’ IP portfolios. As a one-stop IP practice, RHT i-Assets works closely with companies and public institutions throughout their IP value chain, from creation to commercialisation and monetisation. Helmed by senior industry experts, the practice assists companies in Singapore and the region to commercialise their technology to entrench their market position. RHT i-Assets is a subsidiary of RHT Holdings, a leading professional services firm in Asia. This year marks the fourth consecutive year that Jasmine has been named to the IAM Strategy 300. With her depth of experience formulating and implementing national IP policies and driving corporate IP strategies, Jasmine has advised and helped her clients derive maximum economic value from their IP rights. “I am thankful and encouraged to be recognised and included once again in the IAM Strategy 300,” Dr Jasmine Kway commented.  “It is an honour to be amongst the world’s pre-eminent IP strategists. With IP increasingly being viewed as a business asset of fundamental importance, more companies are seeking out strategists who can rightly identify and advise them on the opportunities that their IP presents. Most importantly, companies are also seeking strategists who are able to help them monetise their IP assets in new markets and new applications,” she added. "The IP market is becoming increasingly international, with companies across the world now focusing on creating maximum value from the assets that they own. That makes IP strategists more important than they have ever been before,"IAM editor Joff Wild noted. The IAM research team spoke to a wide range of senior corporate IP managers in North America, Europe and Asia, as well as third-party IP service providers, in order to identify IP professionals whose strategies enabled IP owners to gain maximum value from their portfolios. Only those individuals nominated multiple times by different parties as outstanding IP strategists are listed in the IAM Strategy 300. The IAM Strategy 300 is available in printed format and online at www.IAM-media.com/strategy300.
July 11, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing adds Hong Kong capabilities with addition of Hong Kong law firm H.M. Chan & Co

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP (“the Firm”), the sixth largest law firm in Singapore has boosted its presence in Hong Kong and Greater China following an official association with local firm H.M. Chan & Co in Hong Kong. This association in Hong Kong is the latest addition to RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s rapidly growing ASEAN Plus Group, a Pan-Asian grouping of leading legal firms. By being an integral part of ASEAN Plus Group, H.M. Chan & Co opens up unprecedented opportunities for cross-border collaboration between Hong Kong / Greater China and the rest of the Pan-Asian offices in the ASEAN Plus grouping which was launched in 2014. Launching a new office in Hong Kong is part of a series of strategic growth initiatives the firm has planned to bolster presence across ASEAN and North Asia. Today’s association with H.M. Chan & Co also adds Hong Kong and Greater China capabilities to the network’s increasing bench strength and reach across the whole of Asia. This latest association with H.M. Chan & Co comes soon after RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s successful merger with PBC Partners & RHTLaw on 30 June 2016 to form RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Vietnam. The months ahead will also see Partners from the Singapore office being seconded to Hong Kong and vice versa, a move aimed to boost knowledge transfer and capacity building. The industry areas that will see secondments include: Banking & Finance Regulatory Governance Private Wealth Intellectual Property and Technology Through the association, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing and H.M. Chan & Co will continue to deliver corporate advisory work with a focus on assisting clients in multi-jurisdictional transactions, a core competence of the team.  Commenting on the association, Tan Chong Huat, Managing Partner, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing said, “This is a very exciting move for our firms and draws on our combined and recognised strengths. We are very pleased to welcome H.M. Chan & Co into the Taylor Wessing and ASEAN+ network. With the growing volume of transactions flowing between Hong Kong and Singapore, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing sees exciting opportunities for both firms to serve the legal needs of international clients with strategic and business presence in Hong Kong and China. In addition, with this development, we are also now able to seamlessly serve clients in Singapore with a local Hong Kong and Greater China team. We will also be seconding our Partners to Hong Kong to boost our knowledge and capabilities. This is in line with our aim of helping our clients succeed. I am pleased that this development comes quickly after the successful launch of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Vietnam.” The new Hong Kong office further strengthens RHTLaw Taylor Wessing's already extensive capability across Asia, which comprises a network of more than 1050 lawyers in South East Asia operating through its ASEAN+ Group. Internationally, the firm has 33 offices, operating in 20 jurisdictions, across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, with representative offices in the US (Palo Alto and New York).  The latest venture in Hong Kong is consistent with RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s strategy to bolster its service offerings across the region. In the last few years, the Firm has forged strategic alliances with leading Indonesian law firm, Hanafiah Ponggawa and Partners, and South Korean firm DR & AJU, together with several other leading firms in Asia under the ASEAN Plus Group. This story is featured in the following news reports: "RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Adds Hong Kong Capabilities with Addition of Hong Kong Law Firm HM Chan & Co" - Yahoo Finance, 11 July 2016 "RHTLaw Taylor Wessing ties up with Hong Kong law firm" - The Edge Markets, 12 July 2016 "Taylor Wessing expands its reach to HK through HM Chan tie-up" - Asian Legal Business, 13 July 2016