Review of Government's Demand Aggregation Contracts15 Aug 2016
Parliamentary Question by Zainal Sapari:To ask the Minister for Finance (a) how are demand aggregation contracts for outsourced manpower services called for by Vital (the agency for shared services within the public sector); (b) what are the measures in place to ensure that the terms included in such contracts are fair and reasonable and that workers are not shortchanged; and (c) what measures are in place to ensure that procurement officers for such contracts are kept up-to-date on changes in employment laws to ensure that workers in outsourced contracts are bound by fair employment terms.
Reply by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam:
From time to time, public sector agencies may require temporary staff to support ad-hoc projects or cover those on leave. To meet such temporary demands, one avenue is for agencies to procure manpower services from employment agencies. Vital, as the Government’s shared services provider, will consolidate the demands of Public Service agencies and establish a Public Service-wide contract so that agencies may procure from the contract efficiently, as and when they require such services. Like most other government tenders, the demand aggregated contract for outsourced manpower services is called through open tender on the GeBIZ procurement portal.
All the employment agencies in Vital’s service-wide contracts are required to comply with prevailing laws including the Employment Act, Central Provident Fund Act, Child Development Co-Savings Act, Skills Development Levy Act and Work Injury Compensation Act. Hence, workers under Vital’s service-wide contracts would enjoy the employment entitlements covered by these regulations, including leave, medical and overtime benefits and adequate termination notice.
Vital works closely with the Ministry of Manpower to ensure that the employment agencies comply with the law. In addition, any feedback on non-compliance will be investigated. If substantiated, depending on the severity of the non-compliance, the contract with the employment agency may be terminated. Vital is also aware of and are looking into how the latest guidelines, recently released by the Ministry of Manpower, National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) on 20 June 2016, can be adopted.