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Singapore – MOM Releases Tripartite Guidelines On Issuance Of Key Employment Terms In Writing.

7 January, 2015

 

Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific – Singapore – Labour & Employment

 

Introduction

 
On 16 December 2014, the Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”) announced that, together with the National Trade Union Congress (“NTUC”) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (“SNEF”), it has developed a set of Tripartite Guidelines on the Issuance of Key Employment Terms (KETs) in Writing (“KET Guidelines”).

 
The issuance of the KET Guidelines follows from the announcement by the then Acting Minister for Manpower, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin on 24 April 2014 that, together with the issuance of itemised payslips, the MOM will impose on all employers a mandatory obligation to provide their employees with select key employment terms, such as salary, duties and responsibilities, and working hours.

 
The KET Guidelines offer employers an early opportunity to review their existing employment and human resource practices and be ready by the time the issuance of key employment terms are made mandatory in the first half of 2016.

 
The KET Guidelines

 
What Are The Mandatory Key Employment Terms?

 
The following terms, unless not applicable to the said employee, must be provided by employers to their respective employees in writing:

 
1. Identity of Employer and Employee.
2. Job Title and Scope of Employee’s Duties and Responsibilities.
3. Commencement Date and Term of Employment.
4. Work Days and Hours of Work.
5. Rest Days.
6. Information of Salary, including Quantum, Payment Period, Payment Mode and Applicable Deductions.
7. Fixed Allowances and Other Salary-Related Benefits, such as bonuses and incentives, due to Employee.
8. Overtime Rate and Overtime Payment Period.
9. Leave Entitlements, including Annual Leave, Medical Leave and Statutory Leave.
10. Medical Benefits.
11. Term of Probation.

12. Manner and Mode of Termination, including applicable Notice Period.

 

Who To Provide To?

 
The KET Guidelines provide that the key employment terms should be provided to all employees who will be employed for a continuous period of at least 14 days. Notwithstanding this, as a matter of best practice, it is recommended the terms be provided to all employees for certainty and to avoid unnecessary disputes as to the conditions of employment.

 
When To Provide?

 
On timing, the KET Guidelines state that the key employment terms should be provided to the employees prior to their respective commencement dates, but, at the very latest, within 14 days of the date on which the employees commence work with the company. As a matter of prudence, companies should also procure the employees’ written acceptance of the key employment terms.

 
Further, it is important for companies to inform their employees in advance of any amendments to the key employee terms and obtain the acknowledgement of the employees as to such changes.

 
How To Provide?

 
In relation to the above, the KET Guidelines do not mandate the manner in which the above key employment terms are provided to the employee, save that they must be in writing. Hence, businesses can choose to either provide the key employment terms to their employees in hard copy or electronically.

 
In addition, companies can also choose to list out the key employment terms in their employee handbook, website or any other platform that is readily available to their employees, such as the company’s intranet.

 
Finally, to ensure that the employee is fully aware of the terms governing his employment, the key employment terms should be communicated to the employee in a language that the employee understands. While it is recommended that this be done in writing, as a matter of practicability, companies may choose to do so verbally.

 
Practically Speaking

 
The changes introduced are yet another step in the direction of creating a fairer environment for employees, where there is certainty of the terms they operate under. It is to be welcomed as it also provides employers with greater guidance on how to handle employee contracts. Businesses operating in Singapore must ensure that these requirements are complied with and should start reviewing their respective processes early to avoid being caught off guard when the provision of key employment terms are eventually made mandatory.

 

Rajah & Tann

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Kala Anandarajah, Partner, Rajah & Tann 

kala.anandarajah@rajahtann.com

 

Abdul Jabbar, Partner, Rajah & Tann
abdul.jabbar@rajahtann.com

 

Desmond Wee, Partner, Rajah & Tann

desmond.wee@rajahtann.com

 

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