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Oral Answer by Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on percentage of workforce who are engaged in freelance work or contract positions and permanent full-time jobs

Notice Paper No. 608 For The Sitting On 3 April 2017 

Question No. 1077 For Oral Answer

MP: Leon Perera

To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry can regularly collect and publish data on the percentage of the workforce who are engaged in freelance work or employed in contract positions and who are seeking employment in a permanent full-time job.

Proposed Answer

  1. The Ministry of Manpower has been publishing data on the number and percentage of the workforce who are engaged in own account work (commonly known as freelancers) since 1991, and term contract work since 2006. This data is collected and released on an annual basis as part of the Labour Force in Singapore report. 
  2. For term contract employees, we do not collect data on the proportion who are seeking permanent employment. Both permanent and term contract workers are in employer-employee relationships which are governed by various employment laws such as the Employment Act, Employment Claims Act, CPF Act and the Work Injury Compensation Act. Having options for both permanent and contract employment helps to keep the labour market flexible and responsive. Employers may wish to employ employees on term contracts when, for example, the job is only available on a temporary or project basis. At the same time, some employees prefer to enter into term contracts to meet their own need for flexibility. 
  3. As explained during the Committee of Supply debate in March, for own account workers, we have started collecting data on the proportion who are not freelancing as their preferred choice since 2016, and will do so and publish this on an annual basis. This additional information is useful to better understand how to support own account workers, who face unique issues different from those in employer-employee relationships. 
  4. Those who prefer permanent employment can tap on the Adapt & Grow initiative, where we will work with them to facilitate their pursuit of preferred employment options.