Changes to contractual terms for social enterprise hawker centres from Jan 2019

After much hoo-ha over the “onerous” terms and conditions imposed on hawkers operating under hawker centres managed by socially-conscious enterprises, the National Environment Agency (NEA) announced on 9 Nov that it has come up with changes to standardise contractual terms between the social enterprises and stallholders.

This is after reviewing the “not very socially conscious” contractual terms of 5 operators–Fei Siong Social Enterprise, OTMH, Timbre+Hawkers, Hawker Management and NTUC Foodfare Co-operative.

Ok la, don’t say we never give chance.
We understand that it is inevitable that there will be issues when trying out new ideas. But this also means that policy implementers have to keep a closer watch on new incubators.
What is so difficult to just go to the ground and see if your idea really worked. Hopefully this is a good learning lesson for the policy makers–the stuff you write on paper may not come out swee swee in reality.  Don’t just sit there and wait for people to tell you what’s wrong. Go walk the ground la.

NEA came up with four changes:

Operating days and hours

1. Stallholders can operate at least five days a week. And if they happy, they can also operate for more than five days. Operators will also give stallholders various options on the operating hours. If the stallholders want to operate for more than eight hours a day, the operator would have to engage them to know how the stallholders can tahan for more than eight hours, and if they got sufficient manpower. Right now, stallholders are required to operate for six days a week.

Termination notice and security deposits

2. The stallholders’ security deposits will not be forfeited if they served sufficient notice period for termination. The termination notice period will be standardised across all the operators and it should not be more than two months. The security deposit held by the operator should also not exceed two months’ rent. Unless the tenancy agreement has been breached, the stallholders would not have to pay rent for more than two months, or find a replacement for their stall.

Liquidated damages for breaches

3. If the operators want to impose liquidated damages for regulatory or other breaches, they cannot charge more than $50 for minor ones and $100 for major breaches.

Legal fees

4. Operators would have to bear all legal fees that they may incur from the preparation and execution of the agreements with the stallholders, except for any stamp duties.

While only the key contractual terms have been reviewed now, NEA says they will continue to review the other terms and make the changes if necessary.

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Remember to walk the ground to see if these changes really work k. Don’t wait for another saga than you want to make changes.