Know Your Employment Obligations - Issuance of written Key Employment Terms (KETs)

Find out your responsibility as an employer in the issuance of written KETs.

23 Jan 2020 Articles Employment contract Service contract Term contract employment Best practices

This article is part of a series of pointers to help you better understand your employment obligations towards your employees. We hope this information is of help when you review your HR practices and to ensure you correctly apply the statutory provisions, in compliance with the Employment Act (EA). 

In this article, we will start off the year with 5 key facts about the Key Employment Terms (KETs) requirements and debunk common misconceptions on the issuance of written KETs.  

Benefits of issuing written KETs

It is an important employment practice to provide employees with their KETs in writing. Doing so will allow employees to clearly understand their employment terms and benefits. It informs employees when they will receive their salary as well as employment benefits that they may be eligible for. This also helps to cultivate trust between employers and employees and hence prevent misunderstandings and minimise disputes with employees. 

From 1 April 2016, it is also an EA requirement for employers to issue written KETs to all employees who meet the following conditions: 

  • Enter into a contract of service (i.e. employment contract) on or after 1 April 2016.
  • Are covered by the EA.
  • Are employed for 14 days or more. This refers to the length of contract, not the number of days of work.

If an employee meets the above conditions, the employer must issue a set of complete and accurate written KETs within 14 days after the start date of employment.

Statement #1: Employers are not required to issue a separate set of KETs if their employees have been given an employment contract. 

False, unless the employment contract already contains all of the prescribed terms that are applicable to that employee. 

As a good practice, employers are encouraged to use a standardised employment contract containing all the employment terms and conditions the company has implemented for all employees. If any of the terms is not applicable to a specific employee, for example, the employee will not be required to work overtime or on a public holiday, the employer can indicate accordingly that item.

A common question raised by employers is, “What should I do if some of the applicable KET items were not stated in the employee’s employment contract?” 

To correct its practices and to meet the EA requirements on written KETs, employers can issue the missing terms to the employee in the following ways: 

  • Attach the terms as a separate addendum to the employee’s employment contract;
  • For common employment terms that apply to more than one employee, add the terms into the company’s employee handbook, intranet or similar platforms and inform employees about how they can access and keep a copy of the terms. 

Statement #2: The issuance of KETs are only applicable to full-time employees.

False. Employers must issue KETs to all employees, including their part-time employees and casual workers, who meet the conditions to be issued with written KETs.

Statement #3: KETs can only be issued to the employees in hardcopy format. 

False. Employers have the flexibility to provide the written KETs in hard and/or soft copy as long as: 

  • They contain all the applicable terms for the employees, and 
  • Employees are able to access them easily and keep a copy of these terms. 

Statement #4: KETs are good to have and not issuing KETs is not an offence under the EA.

False. Employers must comply with the EA requirements to issue complete and accurate KETs to an employee who meets the conditions. Employers who fail to do so may be fined an administrative penalty of up to $400 per employee. Employers are expected to be familiar with the requirements of the issuance of KETs, including the list of items that should be included, and ensure that their employment policies and practices comply with the EA. 

Statement #5: Employers are not required to issue KETs to their senior executive employees (e.g. CEO, CFO, CHRO).  

False.  As senior executive employees (e.g. CEO, CFO, CHRO) are now covered under the EA, employers must issue a set of complete and accurate KETs in writing to these employees if they meet the conditions. 

Need assistance on the issuance of KETs? 
Employers may approach TAFEP, SNEF, or the Business Advisors at any of the SME Centres. 

More information can be found here – Guide to Written Key Employment Terms and Itemised Pay Slips

Click on the following links to read our earlier articles:

  1. Top 5 FAQs About Changes to the Employment Act
  2. Know Your Employment Obligations - Responsible Retrenchment
  3. Know Your Employment Obligations - Maternity Leave
  4. Know Your Employment Obligations – Hours of work

Additional resources 
Employer Advisory Service @ TAFEP (EAS) – EAS consultants will provide scenario-based advice to employers on the Employment Act and relevant parts of the Child Development Co-Savings Act, Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, and Retirement and Re-employment Act, which impact employment terms and conditions.

EAS consultants do not provide legal advice and will not discuss points of law. We will only provide practical guidance on the application of the Employment Act and other labour laws related to the specific scenarios that are raised by employers, and share good employment practices that are adopted by industry peers and employers in Singapore.

For more information on EAS@TAFEP, please visit