Singapore’s New Tripartite Standard Specifies Better Employment Conditions for Term Contract Employees

Singapore’s Tripartite Standard on Employment of Term Contract Employees was launched Monday by the Ministry of Manpower. Jointly developed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), it is the first of a series of Tripartite Standards that will be rolled out successively in the months ahead.

The standards fill the gap between employment laws, which require all employers to comply, and advisories, which provide a reference guide for employers on best practices. Each Tripartite Standard specifies a set of verifiable and actionable employment practices, which employers can publicly commit to adopt.

Jobseekers and employees can identify progressive employers and the specific progressive employment practices implemented by these employers.

Today, about 10% of resident employees, or about 170,000 workers, are on term contract arrangements. These term contract employees may have their leave entitlements reset to the statutory minimum by the employer each time their contracts are renewed. They may also have less access to training compared with their counterparts on permanent contracts.

This Tripartite Standard will ensure better employment conditions for term contract employees.

Progressive employers who publicly adopt this Tripartite Standard will provide term contract employees with leave benefits and termination notice periods that are commensurate with their cumulative length of service. They will also provide training to these employees to ensure that they are able to perform their roles effectively.

Together with the tripartite partners, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) are working with employers to help them adopt this Tripartite Standard. Those who have adopted the Standard will be listed on TAFEP’s website and can use a logomark for their recruitment and marketing efforts. To date, 296 employers have signed on to this Standard as early adopters.

Progressive Workplace

“Our workers aspire to grow and thrive in a workplace that is progressive,” says NTUC President, Mary Liew. “We welcome the public commitment by employers to adopt progressive practices beyond what is mandatory. We are encouraged by the positive start and look forward to working with more employers as they come on board. In the Labour Movement, we are also working closely with management to implement it on the ground.”

SNEF President, Dr Robert Yap noted that, “Employers which adopt the Tripartite Standards will be able to distinguish themselves as organizations that have implemented specific progressive employment practices that better meet the needs of their business and employees. This would help them to attract and retain talent. SNEF will assist and advise employers in implementing these Standards.”

TAFEP and the tripartite partners will continue to reach out to more employers to adopt the Tripartite Standards. 

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