Thursday 18 December 2014

Guidelines on issuing written Key Employment Terms for workers released

The guidelines were formulated to help small and medium-sized enterprises prepare for issuing employment terms in writing, before this is legally mandated by 2016, says the Manpower Ministry.
Channel NewsAsia, 16 Dec 2014

A set of guidelines for employers to include Key Employment Terms (KET) in a written document to be issued to workers was released on Tuesday (Dec 16). This is to help employers prepare for the fact that this workplace practice will be mandatory in the first half of 2016.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), or tripartite partners, agreed that the provision of KETs such as salary and main job duties and responsibilities, in writing is a "good employment practice". Itemising payslips will also be mandated in tandem with written KETs, the MOM press release noted.

The guidelines state that employees who have a continuous employment of at least 14 days should be provided with KETs in writing before work commences, or no later than 14 days after the start of employment.

Where possible, employers are encouraged to obtain employees' written acknowledgement to the KETs, and to communicate any changes to the terms to employees in advance so they understand and accept the changes, according to the press release.

"This assures employees of their regular income and main employment benefits, and helps to prevent or resolve employment disputes that may arise," MOM stated.


According to MOM, employers are advised to provide the following details to their employees in writing:
- Name of employer
- Name of employee
- Job title, and main duties and responsibilities
- Date of employment commencement
- Duration of employment (For employees on fixed-term contracts)
- Daily working hours, number of working days per week and rest days
-Salary period
-Basic salary per salary period
- Fix deductions per salary period
- Overtime payment period (Only if different from salary period)
- Overtime rate of pay
- Other salary-related components (eg bonuses, incentives)
- Leave entitlements (eg annual leave, outpatient sick leave, hospitalisation leave, maternity leave and childcare leave)
- Other medical benefits (eg insurance, medical and dental benefits)
- Probation period
- Notice period for termination of employment initiated by either party
Employers can provide the KETs in hard or soft copy, as long as it contains the relevant information, MOM said. The ministry also noted that some of these terms are included in the In-Principle Approval letter as part of the application process for Work Permit holders, and the letter must be given to them.

The guidelines were formulated after consulting various stakeholders, according to MOM. The ministry previously received feedback that some small and medium enterprises (SMEs) may find issuing KETs in writing challenging.

As such, the guidelines have been introduced with the aim of preparing businesses to progressive change their human resource (HR) practices before they are required by law to issue KETs in writing, the release said. 

SNEF and NTUC will reach out to their members and management partners to promote the adoption of the guidelines. Employers that require further assistance can approach SNEF at 6327 9297, or approach an SME Centre, MOM stated. 

Labour Movement welcomes guidelines on written Key Employment Terms
Channel NewsAsia, 16 Dec 2014

On Tuesday (Dec 16), the Ministry of Manpower, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) said they have developed a set of guidelines to guide employers in issuing key employment terms in writing.

In a media statement issued on Tuesday, NTUC said the guidelines would "translate to greater transparency for workers". It added that providing employees with proper written terms will help them better understand their employment terms, salary and benefit components, as well as provide proper documentation to the workers.

The Labour Movement indicated that it has been pushing for changes to ensure that workers receive greater protection under the Employment Act, and has also lobbied for similar rights to be legislated for migrant workers.

The Labour Movement noted that there have been cases of migrant workers who are affected by vague employment contracts, so such documentation is expected to facilitate the resolution of any employment-related disputes.

Ms Cham Hui Fong, assistant secretary-general of NTUC, said: "(From) our experience with some of the workers - either they are contract workers or low-wage workers - they actually have no idea whether the employers are complying with the law.

"So having written employment terms would ensure that there is clarity from both sides. That employers - even when employers change hands - would know that upon recruitment of these group of workers, this is a set of conditions that has been laid out, stipulated and agreed upon by both parties."

The Labour Movement has also encouraged workers to keep a copy of written key employment terms, and clarify with their employers or HR personnel if they do not understand any of the terms.


The tripartite partners said some small and medium enterprises (SMEs) may also find it challenging to adapt to the practice.

Mr Thomas Fernandez, CEO of Pestbusters, said: "The problem with SMEs is that they do not have the manpower like a HR department to look into all these, they multi-task everything - the bosses can do three jobs and he could be the HR (person) - so that becomes a problem in identifying the guidelines and putting it across in paper.

"Maybe there could be some schemes, some funding - that consultants can come and help SMEs with these guidelines."

NTUC said that its SME unit is ready to help SMEs familiarise themselves with the new regulations and guidelines.

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