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Global employment briefing: Singapore, October 2017

  • Singapore
  • Employment law


New Tripartite Standards on employing fixed term contract employees

The Tripartite Standards on the Employment of Term Contract Employees (the “Standards”) was launched on 31 July 2017. Jointly developed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), it is the first of a series of Tripartite Standards that will be rolled out successively in the upcoming months. Each Tripartite Standard specifies a set of verifiable and actionable employment practices, which employers can publicly commit to adopt.

The Standards specifies 3 employment practices concerning term contract employees, namely in relation to leave benefits, notice period and training. Term contract employees, unlike regular or permanent employees, are on fixed-term contracts of employment that will terminate upon the expiry of a specific term unless it is renewed.

The Standards

  • Granting of Paid Leave Benefits to Term Contract Employees

For the purposes of granting paid leave benefits to term contract employees, all fixed-term employment contracts of 14 days or more, which are renewed within 1 month from the end of the previous contract, will have their cumulative length of service treated as “continuous service”. Such paid leave benefits consist of annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, child-care leave and extended child-care leave under the Employment Act (Cap. 91) and/or the Child Development Co-Savings Act (Cap. 38A), as the case may be.

Accordingly, term contract employees on short-term, separate contracts of less than the statutory minimum service period of 3 months will be able to enjoy the above paid leave benefits in accordance with the Standards.

  • Cumulative Length of Service to Determine Minimum Notice Period

In instances of early termination or non-renewal of fixed-term employment contracts, the above “continuous” cumulative length of service may also be used to determine the mutually applicable minimum notice periods, as follows:

Cumulative length of service Notice period shall not be less than
Less than 26 weeks 1 day
At least 26 weeks but less than 2 years 1 week
At least 2 years but less than 5 years 2 weeks
At least 5 years 4 weeks

Where an organisation intends to terminate a fixed-term employment contract prematurely, or decides not to renew a fixed-term employment contract upon its expiry, it should provide the above respective minimum notice period to the term contract employee.

  • Providing Training for Term Contract Employees

The final progressive employment practice set out in the Standards is to provide training to term contract employees so as to ensure that they are able perform their jobs effectively.


Employers who adopt the Standards will be publicly recognised on the website of the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), and can use a logomark for their recruitment and marketing efforts. As such employers will be able to distinguish themselves as organisations that have implemented specific progressive employment practices that better meet the needs of their employees. This may help in attracting and retaining talent.

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