Breaking: New guidelines released for term contract employment

by Miklos Bolza20 Jun 2016
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Singapore National Employer’s Federation (SNEF) and National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) have announced a new set of guidelines for the employment of term contract workers detailing the leave benefits and notice period which should be provided.
 
“According to MOM’s 2015 Labour Force Report, there were 202,400 term contract employees last year and this formed 11.3% of the resident workforce,” said Koh Juan Kiat, SNEF’s executive director.
 
“Employers value these workers for the flexibility and contributions to their short term business requirements. As such, the Federation believes the guidelines will provide employers with the framework to offer term contracts which can better attract such workers.”
 
Leave benefits
 
Under the Employment Act (EA) and the Child Development Co-savings Act (CDCA), term contract employees are entitled to statutory leave benefits if they have been working for a minimum of three months without a break in service. This includes:
  • Annual leave (up to seven days for first year of employment. Add one day for each year of service and cap annual leave at 14 days)
  • Sick leave (up to 14 days of non-hospitalisation leave plus the lesser of either up to 60 days of hospitalisation leave or 14 days plus the number of hospitalised days per year)
  • Maternity leave (16 weeks per child birth if legally married and the child is a Singapore citizen. Twelve weeks if not married or the child is not a Singapore citizen)
  • Paternity leave (one week per child birth)
  • Adoption leave (four weeks per child)
  • Childcare leave (six days per year for each child who is a Singapore citizen under the age of seven and two days per year for each child who is not a Singapore citizen)
However, some employees do not currently receive these benefits despite having worked for an employer for the necessary three month period. For instance, a worker may have had separate contracts each shorter than the minimum three month period with repeated breaks between.
 
To rectify this, the Tripartite suggested employers should grant leave benefits to workers on contracts of 14 days or more which were renewed within one month of the previous contract, provided they have accumulated three months of service.
 
Leave can be accrued based on the collective term of the contracts. For instance, if a worker has had three one-month contracts separated by one week each and they start a fourth contract, they will be entitled to:
  • Two days of annual leave (3 months divided by 12 multiplied by 7 days = 2 rounded up)
  • Five days of sick leave (based on the EA for three months of service)
  • Two days of childcare leave (based on the EA and the CDCA)
“The guidelines will benefit both employers and employees,” said Alvin Lim, divisional director of workplace policy & strategy at MOM.
 
“On one hand, the guidelines will provide employers with greater clarity on the employment terms they should be providing to their term contract employees. Term contract employees will also benefit from the good employment practices outlined in the guidelines.”

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