Help bosses appreciate guidelines on contract staff

Guidelines on statutory leave benefits for contract workers are long overdue ("Contract workers entitled to leave perks"; Tuesday).

The importance of contract workers cannot be underestimated in our tight labour market. And it is necessary for employers to study the guidelines released by the Manpower Ministry, the Singapore National Employers Federation and the labour movement.

As differing interpretations of the new guidelines are expected to arise, tripartite partners would do well to organise workshops and seminars for employers to learn how to better administer statutory employment benefits for contract workers.

There are companies whose contract workers enjoy statutory leave benefits, as well as other perks, including pro-rated bonuses, meaning they are treated like permanent staff.

While some contract workers do not actually enjoy statutory employment perks, they may be paid higher wages in lieu. In other words, all the various perks are being encashed and computed in the salary.

However, some workers regard higher remuneration as far more important than statutory employment benefits, and this may encourage unscrupulous employers to exploit the situation.

Such a sad state of affairs does not augur well for people employed on term contracts in future, and this will negate the new guidelines which have been crafted to protect this category of employees.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2016, with the headline 'Help bosses appreciate guidelines on contract staff'. Print Edition | Subscribe