On 31 July 2017 the Tripartite Alliance issued the Tripartite Standard on Employment of Term Contract Employees (First Standard), (Tripartite Standards). The Tripartite Standards are the first of five new standards seek to encourage fair and progressive labour practices in certain areas. The remaining four standards are expected to be put into place over the next few months.
The Tripartite Standards have been developed in response to the growing reliance on fixed term contract employees (also referred to as ‘term contract employees’) and the flow on impact on employment benefits that can sometimes follow from being engaged on this basis.
There are three key provisions in the Tripartite Standards:
Employees who are employed under a series of fixed term employment contracts, each with a term of 14 days or more and who have their contract renewed within one month of the end of the previous contract, will be deemed to have ‘continuous service’.
This continuous service will make it easier for such employees to access various entitlements such as annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, child-care leave and extended child-care leave.
Early termination or non-renewal of Term Contract
The cumulative length of service of an employee will also be used to determine the minimum notice period for early termination or non-renewal of the employment contract.
Employees will be entitled to between 1 day notice (for cumulative service of less than 6 months) and 4 weeks’ notice for cumulative service of 5 years or more.
The Tripartite Standards also advocate that adequate training be given to all employees including those engaged on a fixed-term basis. Such training will include on-the-job training, online courses and workshops.
Key take-away for employers
Employers who adopt the Tripartite Standards can seek to register on the TAFEP website (www.tafep.sg) and, upon successful registration; employers can refer to this commitment in their recruitment and marketing materials. Further, as with the various other standards published by the Tripartite Alliance, employers can point to their adherence to such standards when responding to any complaint of unfair labour practices.
Accordingly, it is a good time for employers to review their engagement models for fixed-term employees and consider whether they can adopt the measures outlined in the Tripartite Standards. For further tips, see our article from last year on the Tripartite Guidelines on the Employment of Term Contract Employees.
Written by Fatim Jumabhoy, Partner, Tess Lumsdaine, Senior Associate, and Sarah Yazid, Associate.