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Singapore aims to improve conditions for term contract employees

Singapore has launched a new standard that lays out improved employment conditions for employees on fixed-term contracts.01 Aug 2017

The tripartite standard on employment of term contract employees has been developed by Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF).

About 10% of employees resident in Singapore, or around 170,000 workers, are on term contracts that terminate on expiry unless they are renewed. Under the Employment Act these employees can have their leave entitlements reset to the statutory minimum by their employer each time their contracts are renewed. They may also be given less access to training than employees on permanent contracts, MOM said.

To qualify for the new standard employers must give employees leave benefits and termination notice periods that are commensurate with their cumulative length of service, and provide training. 

A Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) is working with employers to help them adopt the standard. Employers who adopt the standard will be listed on TAFEP’s website and can use its logo in their recruitment and marketing.

To date, 296 employers have signed on to this standard as early adopters, the Ministry said.

This is the first of a series of tripartite standards that will be rolled out in the coming months, the Ministry said. Four more will be issued in 2017, with further standards to come in 2018.

Bryan Tan of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint venture partner of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: "The gig economy is steadily growing and the number of workers on such arrangements and term contracts is becoming a significant part of the workforce. Therefore, legislation and standards created for the original industrial revolution would need to be updated in this fourth industrial revolution."

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