Term contracts in the Civil Service
Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on term contracts in the Civil Service
Parliamentary Sitting: 16 January 2012
Mr Zainal Sapari: To ask the Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010 (a) what is the percentage of Government employees who are employed on term contracts of between one to three years; (b) what percentage of these employees have been offered permanent posts in the civil service when their contracts ended; and (c) what are the reasons for not offering permanent posts to employees upon their contract expiry.
Written Reply (for the Prime Minister) by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security, Minister in charge of the Civil Service and Minister for Home Affairs:
The intent of the contract framework is to allow Ministries the flexibility to recruit officers to undertake specific projects over a specific period or as a means to assess the officer’s suitability for the job. Currently, Ministries can appoint officers either on permanent tenure subject to a probation period, or on contract.
Over the years, Ministries have found the contract framework useful to appoint new officers to assess their suitability for the job. This is beneficial for both the ministries as well as the officers as it allows both parties a period of time to assess whether there is a good fit before making a permanent commitment. If the ministries had to decide before such a period of mutual assessment, the ministries may be hesitant to make a job offer at all. For officers who have performed well in the job and are assessed to be suitable for a long term career with the Civil Service, Ministries will offer the candidates permanent positions after one or two years. The contract arrangement serves as a gracious way for officers who do not have a good job fit to exit. Their departure can then be tied to the end of their contracts rather than a failure to be confirmed, or for them to resign after a short period of service. Such contract officers enjoy the same service benefits as permanent officers.
Between 2007 and 2009, a total of 12,090 civil servants were appointed on contracts. This accounted for 56 per cent of the total recruitment in the Civil Service. The remaining 44 per cent were appointed on permanent tenure, subject to a probation period.
Of the 12,090 officers on contract employment, 4,610 or 38 per cent of the officers were emplaced onto the permanent establishment within 2 years and 1,628 or 13 per cent of the contract officers were emplaced after 2 years. 3,341 or 28 per cent of the contract officers left service before they were due for emplacement. The remaining 2,511 or 21 per cent comprises officers who are yet to be emplaced, or are employed for specific projects over a specific period.