From Wrongs to Rights: Mastering Termination Across APAC Nations

an HR manager shaking hands with an employee

Terminating employment is a sensitive undertaking, especially in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region where stringent legal and cultural factors govern the process. 

In this blog post, we delve into the intricacies of employment termination across select APAC countries. Our exploration highlights the nuanced nature of the termination process, underscoring the pivotal importance of aligning procedures with regulatory compliance and cultural norms. 

Through real-world examples of international companies in various APAC countries, we uncover the critical need for cautious navigation to protect both the legal standing and cultural integrity of businesses in this dynamic region.

Understanding termination procedures in APAC

Talent management in the APAC region demands a nuanced understanding of various considerations, factors and processes, whether hiring or firing. 

International companies operating in this diverse landscape encounter unique challenges and hurdles that necessitate a comprehensive approach to the termination process. 

Here’s a list of just some of the factors that need to be considered in the termination process:

  • Final Pay and Statutory Requirements
  • Notice Periods
  • Cultural Sensitivities
  • Mutual Agreements and Documentation
  • Probationary Period Practices
  • Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) and Trade Union Procedures
  • Retrenchment and Redundancy
  • Unfair Dismissal Considerations
  • Policies for Fixed-Term vs. Permanent Employment Agreements
  • Ongoing Regulatory Compliance Changes

Case Studies: Wrongs and Rights in Termination

Country Australia
Wrong Move Unfair Dismissal and Lack of Cultural Sensitivity

A US-based fintech company faced legal challenges in Australia due to unfair dismissal practices. Failing to provide proper notice and disregarding cultural nuances in the termination process resulted in financial penalties and damage to the company’s reputation.

Right Move Compliance and Cultural Awareness

A German manufacturing firm successfully navigated the Australian termination landscape by adhering to statutory notice periods, providing final pay promptly, and demonstrating cultural awareness. This approach not only avoided legal repercussions but also enhanced the company’s reputation.


Country China
Wrong Move Unlawful Dismissal and Lack of Documentation

A French ed-tech company operating in China faced legal consequences by unlawfully dismissing employees without just cause and inadequate documentation. The lack of adherence to severance payment requirements led to costly settlements.

Right Move Legal Compliance and Professional Advice

In contrast, a Canadian manufacturing company in China sought legal advice when terminating employees, ensuring compliance with severance payment regulations. The company’s commitment to legal compliance and professional advice safeguarded its reputation and financial standing.


Country Hong Kong
Wrong Move Violation of Notice Periods

A UK-based technology company in Hong Kong violated notice periods during termination, leading to legal repercussions. The failure to adhere to the 30-day notice period resulted in financial penalties and strained relationships with former employees.

Right Move Cultural Sensitivity and Proper Severance

An Australian e-commerce brand demonstrated cultural sensitivity by providing proper severance and observing notice periods in Hong Kong. This approach not only upheld legal requirements but also maintained a positive corporate image.


Country India
Wrong Move Inadequate Termination Agreements

A US-based e-commerce brand in India faced disputes and legal challenges due to inadequate termination agreements. Lack of clear documentation and mutual agreement led to financial losses and damaged relations with former employees.

Right Move Mutual Termination Agreements and Clear Documentation

A Canadian healthcare technology company in India implemented mutual termination agreements with clear documentation. This proactive approach mitigated disputes, enhanced transparency, and protected the company’s interests.


Country Japan
Wrong Move Unjustified Terminations and Legal Consequences

A German automotive equipment manufacturing company in Japan faced legal consequences by unjustifiably terminating employees without objectively reasonable grounds. The dismissal was deemed a nullity, resulting in reinstatement and back pay for affected employees.

Right Move Fixed-Term Agreements and Cultural Understanding

A US-based software development company in Japan adopted fixed-term agreements and demonstrated cultural understanding in termination practices. This approach facilitated smoother transitions, ensuring compliance with Japanese societal norms.


Country Singapore
Wrong Move Mismanaging Annual Leave during Termination

A UK-based financial services company in Singapore encountered complications by mismanaging unused annual leave during termination. The oversight resulted in disputes and potential legal ramifications.

Right Move Negotiating Severance Benefits and Adhering to Notice Periods

A French luxury goods brand operating in Singapore negotiated severance benefits based on contracts and industry standards. Adhering to notice periods and agreements ensured a smooth termination process without legal entanglements.

A Confident Talent Management Strategy: Enter the Employer of Record

As international companies navigate the intricate landscape of termination procedures in APAC, the role of a reputable, effective Employer of Record (EOR) takes center stage. The challenges of meeting HR compliance standards and respecting cultural sensitivities make the collaboration with an EOR partner a strategic imperative.

With on-the-ground support and an in-depth understanding of local laws, an EOR specialist simplifies compliance across the entire employment lifecycle – ensuring meticulous adherence to regulatory requirements and cultural nuances.

An effective EOR partner, armed with a global approach and localized knowledge of APAC countries, serves as a linchpin for international companies looking to conduct terminations compliantly and in accordance with cultural norms. By comprehensively addressing regulatory compliance challenges and cultural considerations, the EOR empowers international companies to conduct terminations seamlessly. 

This holistic approach not only steers businesses through the complexities of cross-border challenges but also unlocks operational advantages – fostering sustained talent growth and resilience in APAC and beyond.

Check out the recording of our webinar ‘From Singapore to Spain and Beyond: How to Hire and Fire Around the World’ or download our comprehensive guide ‘Building a Resilient Workforce in Asia Pacific.’ Contact us to learn more about hiring and firing practices in APAC and around the world.