May 14, 2020
Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 Restrictions on MOE Instructors: Restructuring of Contracts to Provide Initial Payments Ahead of Work Done
As part of MOE's precautionary measures for COVID-19, Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) and activities that involve mingling of students across schools have been suspended since Term 2. The prolonged suspension of these activities has affected the income of instructors who are paid based on services delivered.
2. To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and the National Circuit Breaker on jobs and businesses, the Government has, through the Unity, Resilience and Solidarity budgets, provided assistance via the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) and the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS). Instructors who meet the eligibility criteria can benefit from these schemes.
3. MOE and NTUC National Instructors and Coaches Association (NICA) have been discussing ways to further help MOE instructors. Arising from these discussions, MOE will be providing instructors the option of restructuring their contracts. There are two aspects to the option: (a) extend existing contracts by up to a year, but no later than Dec 2021; (b) receive initial payments, paid ahead of actual work done from now to end 2021. This will provide some income for instructors in 2020 even if fewer hours are delivered, with the expectation that the hours of work would be fulfilled subsequently in 2021. With this change, MOE will also encourage schools to consider alternative ways to engage instructors in 2020.
Key Features of the New Contract Structure
4. The key features of the new contract structure are as follows:
Contract Duration: The contracts will be extended up to December 2021, based on existing contract hours or scope, to give greater assurance of work and income beyond 2020, and to give instructors more time to fulfil the services agreed upon. For the remainder of 2020, schools will gradually explore alternative ways of delivering CCA, such as using e-modes or class-based approaches, as well as other activities that can be delivered through instructors, when the situation allows for it. Should CCA and other activities resume for the remainder of the year and the schools' requirements exceed the existing hours stipulated in the contract, schools will pay for the additional hours of service rendered, according to the contracted terms and rates.
Initial Payment: The initial payment is applicable to CCA and non-CCA contracts for both individuals and companies. Based on a typical school CCA arrangement, the quantum of the initial payment is set at 40% of the annual contract value, capped at $3,000 per instructor for each contract. The initial payment for CCA instructors will be paid in two tranches, in June 2020 and November 2020. Non-CCA instructors will receive a single payment in June 2020 as these contracts are on an ad-hoc basis or a short-term period. For contracts involving multiple instructors (e.g. for companies), the cap will be adjusted based on the number of instructors and the annual contract value. Companies are encouraged to pass on the initial payment to their instructors, as per their existing arrangements with them.
Instructor Contracts Eligible for Contract Restructuring
5. The new contract structure will be offered by schools to contracts focused on the provision of instructors' services. Contracts offering services that would still be relevant to the schools for the extended contract duration (of up to December 2021) would be offered the option to convert to the new contract structure. This option will not be applicable to curricular-related contracts that can still proceed within prevailing conditions for curriculum delivery, such as the Arts & Music Instructor Scheme (AMIS).
6. Schools will get in touch with eligible companies and instructors with more information from 25 May 2020 onwards, just before the end of the school holidays. Should instructors have any enquiries, they can get in touch with the respective schools after 25 May or visit https://www.moe.gov.sg/coaches-instructors.