Hiring of temporary employees in the Public Service
Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on hiring of temporary employees in the Public Service
Parliamentary Sitting: 8 January 2018
Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Prime Minister (a) what are the deviation or waiver guidelines that allow for rehiring under the Government’s contract for Provision of Temporary Contract for Services; (b) how does the Government ensure that these term contract employees’ welfare is not compromised when they are hired by the public agencies for 11 months 29 days and rehired after a break of one month; and (c) whether the Government will consider having a separate contract that allows agencies to engage term contract employees for a duration of two or three years.
Written Reply by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister in charge of the Civil Service.
Individual public agencies may directly hire workers for short-term work or procure temporary manpower services from employment agencies under a demand aggregation contract.
For direct hires, the public agency has an employer-employee relationship with the temporary public officer who is provided with the associated benefits.
For temporary manpower services contracted from employment agencies through the demand aggregation contract, the public agency has a client-contractor relationship with the employment agency. The workers are hired by the employment agencies, which are required to provide for the workers’ welfare according to prevailing laws, including the Employment Act, Central Provident Fund Act and other relevant laws.
Similar to public agencies, the employment agencies are also guided by the Tripartite Advisory on the Employment of Term Contract Employees, which provides workers with continuous benefits if the break in work period is less than a month1. The Public Service Division has been reminding public agencies and contractors to adhere to the Tripartite Advisory and its intent.
Given that the demand aggregation contract is designed to fulfil temporary needs, the service periods are generally of less than one year duration. However, the Permanent Secretary or Chief Executive Officer of an agency has flexibility to extend with the employment agency, the services of the temporary worker beyond one year, for good reasons such as when the short-term work needs to slightly exceed one year. The workers will continue to enjoy benefits from their employers throughout their engagement period as agreed in their employment contracts.
For work that is more permanent in nature, the Public Service Division advises public agencies to directly recruit individuals as public officers.