What you need to know when hiring temporary workers in Singapore

Having one of the strongest economies in the world and being renowned for its rapid economic growth, it is not hard to see why Singapore is one of the top locations for businesses.

However, given the current situation caused by Covid-19, businesses based in Singapore are facing challenges around employment and business activity. As a result, many people have lost work and businesses are at a standstill.   

To attempt to overcome this, the Manpower Minister Josephine Teo has released new government advice encouraging temporary work. In this article we are going to discuss the new advice and look at the key considerations businesses need to take into account when hiring temporary workers in Singapore.    

New Covid-19 Temporary Work Guidelines

In regard to temporary work in Singapore, the Manpower Minister Josephine Teo has stated “Jobs must be immediately available to help people who need to get back to work quickly. About 80% of the vacancies are for temporary jobs of up to one year, adding that the pay range of jobs on offer is $1,700 to $5,800 a month. Although job seekers may prefer a permanent role, the initiative helps those who need to find a job immediately as they have children, mortgages, elderly parents, or other money commitments. Getting back to work quickly also puts workers in a better position to continue their career when the economy recovers to which employees resumes continue to build up as they continue to be trained and continue to have relevant work experience.”  (www.straitstimes.com)

As a result, many businesses are looking to employee temporary workers to get their businesses back up and running post covid-19. 

What is Temporary Work?

Temporary work is a contracted work assignment that specifically lasts for a period of time, which could be from a few weeks to few months. As an employer you can turn an employee’s contract into permanent, full-time position as once a contracted assignment period is finished successfully, the employee can essentially move on to a new project.

As an employer you will find that there are numerous reasons as to why employees use a temporary contract, whether that’s to maintain an income flow while looking for permanent work, find permanent positions through their temporary assignments or it may just suit their lifestyle better than a permanent job. They are also useful for recent graduates who may want to experience a variety of jobs in different industries before settling on a suitable career path. So its important for you to understand when hiring temporary workers what their motivation is.

As an employer you will find that temporary employees who are successful in their career welcome changing work environments and assignments to which they can adapt quickly to new jobs with a willingness to learn. It is just as important for you to sell yourself and the company to employees as good workers can sometimes have the option of choosing the type of work they want to do, which can help them grow professionally but can mean employees are harder to obtain.

On the other hand, companies need temporary employees with diverse skill sets, specific work experience or educational background to manage periodic increases in their workload or to complete special assignments.

The Singapore Employment Act

The Employment Act is Singapore’s main labour law which addresses employment specific regulations regarding the basic terms and conditions of employment and the rights, duties and responsibilities of employers and employees covering temporary and contract workers.

Most employees in Singapore are familiar with the Employment Act and understand their rights and protection that is offered to them under various legislations. As an employer, it is also equally important to be aware of the do’s and don’ts when hiring temporary employees.

As an employer one of the first steps in hiring is to know whether your employee is protected by the Employment Act. If your employee is covered by the Employment Act, it is important to remember that the terms you put in place within the employment contract cannot be less favourable than what is mentioned in the Employment Act. However, if your employee is not covered by the Employment Act, then the terms and conditions of employment can be negotiated between both parties and once concluded it must be stated clearly in the employment contract which will then bind both the parties. (www.mom.gov.sg)

The Employment Act makes a distinction between employees, subjecting them into Employees earning less than SGD 2,000 a month and Employees earning above SGD 2,000 a month.

The Employment Act does not distinguish between a temporary employee, contract employee, daily rated employee, or employee on tenured employment. Employees who work less than 35 hours a week are covered under regulations for part-time employees. Different from other countries, under the Singaporean Employment Act, part-timers and contract workers have some of the same perks as permanent full-time employees, which however, are pro-rated. Also, it is important to note, in Singapore part time and contract employees usually are not entitled to specific privileges like bonuses and medical insurance, which full time employees do receive.

Work passes and permits for Contracted Employees  

All foreigners who intend to work in Singapore short term or long term must have a valid pass known as a work visa before they begin work. If you are engaging foreigners to work in Singapore, you must ensure that they hold a valid pass beforehand. There are numerous work passes for foreigners which are subcategorized into professionals, skilled & semi-workers, trainees & students, family members, exemptions and working while on a visit pass. To find out specifically which pass is suitable for your workers, the Singapore Government website has all the relevant details (www.mom.gov.sg)

Benefits of Temporary Workers

Temporary Workers or Contractors normally have a specific skill set which allows them to make an instant impact within a short period of time. As an employer you don't need to worry about training or development, as temporary workers are typically used to ever changing environments and projects. Typically, the hiring process is a lot shorter compared to those who are permanent employees and often working hours and holidays days can be negotiated as temporary workers are a lot more flexible. Essentially temporary workers will show you whether there is a demand for that specific skill set in your company and bring an overall fresh perspective to the project.

To find out more about the recruitment and PEO support we can offer in Singapore whether it is for employing contracted or permanent workers please contact our team on:

+65 3163 9353 or email us on enquiries@leap29.com

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