Minimum Requirements For Key Employment Terms (KETs) On Employees Contracts

When hiring in Singapore, employers must issue Key Employment Terms (KETs) in writing to all employees who are 1) covered under the Employment Act and 2) employed for 14 days or more.

This set of Key Employment Terms have to be given to employees within 14 days after the start of their employment, and must include their terms of employment.

What Should Be Included In Key Employment Terms (KETs) Given To Employees?

While employers will typically have contracts for employees stipulating terms and conditions for their employment, they should also include these 18 Key Employment Terms (KETs) as set out by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), unless they don’t apply.

For example, as overtime pay does not apply to PMEs, the Key Employment Terms (KETs) in item 11 (Overtime Period) and 12 (Overtime Pay) do not need to be included. If the employment is not on a fixed contract, then there would similarly not be any need to include item 5 (Duration of employment).

No.Key Employment Terms (KETs)
1Full name of employer
2Full name of employee
3Job title, main duties and responsibilities
4Start date of employment
5Duration of employment (if employee is on a fixed-term contract)
6Working arrangements, such as:
– Daily working hours (e.g. 8.30am to 6pm)
– Number of working days per week (e.g. six)
– Rest day (e.g. Saturday)
7Salary Period
8Basic salary
– For hourly, daily pr piece-rated workers, employees should indicate the basic rate of pay (e.g. $X per hour, per or per piece)
9Fixed allowances
10Fixed deductions
11Overtime payment period (if different from salary period in item 7)
12Overtime rate of pay
13Other salary-related components, such as:
– Bonuses
– Incentives
14Types of leave: such as:
– Annual leave
– Outpatient sick leave
– Hospitalisation leave
– Maternity leave
– Childcare leave
15Other medical benefits, such as:
– Insurance
– Medical benefits
– Dental benefits
16Probation period
17Notice period
18(Optional) Place of work
– Used if the work location is different from the employer’s address.
– Although optional, you are strongly encouraged to include this information.
Source: Ministry of Manpower (MOM)

For employers who aren’t sure or prefer to follow a template, MOM has provided a sample form so that none of the fields will be left out.

Just including the relevant Key Employment Terms (KETs) in your contract is not sufficient on its own. While businesses may want to protect their interest, their Key Employment Terms for employees also cannot be less favourable than the minimum requirements as set out by the Employment Act.

Read Also: Singapore Employment Act: 10 Statutory Requirements To Pay Employees

Minimum Requirements In The Employment Act For Key Employment Terms (KETs)

Some of the Key Employment Terms are very standard, such as full name of employer, full name of employee and having to list and employee’s job title, main duties and responsibilities.

Others, while also looking straightforward, may be governed by the Employment Act, and may have minimum statutory requirements. This means what businesses list down on the employment contract may or may not be binding depending on whether they are in line with the minimum requirements in Singapore.

#1 Working Arrangements

Employers need to list the daily working hours of their employees, the number of working days per week and the rest days that the employee will have. For employees covered under Part IV of the Employment Act, work hours are regulated.

These employees comprise:

  1. Workmen (doing manual labour) earning a basic monthly salary of not more than $4,500
  2. Employees who are not workmen, but who are covered by the Employment Act and earn a monthly basic salary of not more than $2,600

For such employees, contractual work arrangements are:

If Employees WorkContractual Hours Allowed
5 days or less a weekUp to 9 hours per day or 44 hours a week
More than 5 days a weekUp to 8 hours per day or 44 hours a week

There is some flexibility in allowing employees to work more than 44 hours a week. For example, an employee can work 48 in week 1, 40 hours in week 2 and 44 hours in week 3. So long as hours worked add up to an average of 44 hours in a continuous 3-week period, it is acceptable.

Employees covered under Part IV of the Employment Act are also not allowed to work more than 12 hours a day or 72 hours of overtime in a month. Employers must apply to MOM for an overtime exemption for employees to work beyond the overtime cap.

While this protects employees, the reality is that more than 90% of Singapore employees are not protected by Part IV of the Employment Act. MOM goes on to encourage employers not to require more than 60 hours of work per week for employees’ well-being and safety. 

#2 Salary Period

According to the Employment Act, no salary period can exceed one month. Employers retain the flexibility to have weekly or daily salary periods.

Even if employers fail to list the salary period, it cannot exceed one month, and in fact, it will be taken to mean a salary period of one month.

#3 Fixed Deductions

According to the Employment Act, employers cannot simply make deductions to an employee’s salary as they deem necessary. In the Employment Act, there is a list of allowable salary deductions for:

  • Absence from work.
  • Damage or loss of money or goods. Before deducting for this, employers need to 1) hold an inquiry, 2) only deduct an employee’s salary after explaining the cause of damage or loss and 3) not deduct more than 25% of employee’s salary. Deductions must be a one-time lump sum payment which means that only up to 25% of an employee’s salary is recoverable for any particular damage or loss.
  • Supplying accommodation after receiving employee’s consent.
  • Supplying amenities and services (authorised by the Commissioner for Labour) and after receiving employee’s consent. Any such deductions cannot exceed the value of the accommodation, amenities or services. It also cannot exceed 25% of the employee’s salary for the period.
  • Recovering advances, loans, overpaid salary or unearned employment benefits.
For advances– Deductions can be made in instalments spread over not more than 12 months.
– Each deduction cannot exceed 25% of the employee’s salary.
For loans– Deductions can be made in instalments.
– Each deduction should not exceed 25% of the employee’s salary. 
For overpaid salary and unearned benefits– Deductions can recover the full amount. 
  • CPF contributions 
  • Payments to registered co-operatives with written consent
  • Other purposes for which employees give written consent. Employers cannot make deductions for things that do not benefit employees.
  • Payment to co-operative societies for subscriptions, entrance fees, loan instalments, interest or other dues

Read Also: Complete Guide To Employer’s CPF Contributions In Singapore

However, when an employee’s contract of service is terminated, the total authorised deduction may exceed 50% of an employee’s final salary payment.

#4 Overtime Payment Period

For employers covered by Part IV of the Employment Act, overtime work requires employers to pay at least 1.5x the hourly basic rate of pay. Payment must be made within 14 days after the last day of the salary period.

#5 Overtime Rate Of Payment

Work done outside of the contractual hours is considered overtime hours. The overtime rate payable for non-workmen is capped at the salary level of $2,600 or an hourly rate of $13.60.

#6 Types Of Leave (for employees who have worked more than 3 months)

The minimum paid annual leave for employees is between 7 and 14 days a year. While new employees may be given 7 annual leaves each year, for every year that they stay, he or she must receive an additional paid annual leave up to 14 days. Of course, as many of us also know, employers can provide beyond 14 days of annual leaves.

Employees must get 14 days of paid outpatient sick leave a year, and up to 60 days of paid hospitalisation leave a year.

Female employees are also entitled to 16 weeks of paid Maternity Leave for their Singaporean children. At this point, it’s almost important to note that the Key Employment Terms do not just have to be in line with the Employment Act, but also other relevant Acts in Singapore. For example, the Employment Act does not mention Paternity Leave. Nevertheless, Paternity Leave is to be given under the Child Development Co-Savings Act.

Both parents also get 6 days of childcare leave a year, regardless of number of children, for children below 7. For children between 7 and 12 years old, the childcare leave is 2 days.

Read Also: 10 Types Of Employee Payments (Apart From Salary) That Businesses Need To Pay CPF For

#7 Other Medical Benefits

For employees who have worked for more than 3 months, employers need to pay for their medical consultation fees if they are granted a medical leave at any government or company-approved doctors, dentists and specialists.

Read Also: Medical Benefits That Businesses Have To Legally Provide For Their Employees In Singapore

#8 Probation Period

While there’s no minimum probation period mandated in the Employment Act, employers need to know that they have to offer their employees certain entitlements after the 3-month mark. This includes maternity leave, annual leave, outpatient and hospitalisation leave and others.

#9 Notice Period

There is no maximum notice period, however the Employment Act does state that the notice period must be the same for both employees and employers.

There is also a minimum notice period detailed in the Employment Act.

Employment TermMinimum Notice Period
Less than 26 weeks1-day notice
More than 26 weeks, but less than 2 years1-week notice
More than 2 years, but less than 5 years2-weeks notice
More than 5 years4-weeks notice

These Are The Minimum Requirements, And Employers Can Go Beyond

As mentioned, these are the minimum standards required by the Employment Act in Singapore. Employers can do more, and often, employees do more. For instance, many employers offer more than 7 days or 14 days of annual leaves, and employers also tend to provide more generous medical benefits and overtime pay than required.

In certain instances, employers need to understand that there is a standard in place, and they cannot exceed it. This includes an employee’s notice period as well as making deductions from an employee’s salary.

While 90% of employees today are not covered by Part IV of the Employment Act, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t protected. First, their Key Employment Terms (KETs) have to be detailed in their employment contract. This gives them visibility into whether they want to accept it. This means they will only accept a reasonable contract and employers have to abide by their own employment contracts in requiring the number of working hours from their employees.

This article was first published on 8 January 2021 and has been updated with additional information.

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