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Singapore launches new tripartite standard for term contract employees

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Mrs Josephine Teo, Ms Mary Liew, and Dr Robert Yap are joined by representatives from the first batch of employers that have successfully adopted the Tripartite Standard on the Employment of Term Contract Employees

SINGAPORE launched on Monday a new tripartite standard which specifies better employment conditions for term contract employees.

To qualify for the new standard, employers must be progressive in their employment practices that go beyond what is required under the Employment Act, revolving around three key areas of leave benefits, notice period and training.

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.

Second Minister for Manpower, Josephine Teo, said the plan is to "roll out another four tripartite standards by the end of 2017, with more to come next year".

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Term contract employees, who unlike regular or permanent employees, are on fixed-term contracts of employment that will terminate upon expiry unless they get renewed. They constitute about 10 per cent of Singapore's resident workforce, or aout 170,000.

Today, some 296 employers, including the Singapore public service, have signed on to this standard as early adopters.

In total, these employers account for about 26,000, or around 15 per cent of all term contract employees in Singapore.

"This is a good start but not good enough if we want to make an impact. We will continue to drive the adoption of this tripartite standard to cover as many term contract employees as possible,'' Mrs Teo said.

She added that the tripartite partners believed the standards are the right way to signal progressive employment practices to jobseekers. Employers who sign on to the Standards will be publicly recognised on the website of Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) and in a later phase - the Jobs Bank. These employers may use the "Tripartite Standards" logomarks in their recruitment and marketing efforts and hopefully, draw more talents.