Key Facts To Know About Employment Laws In Singapore

6 min read|Last Updated: May 24, 2023|
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They cover a wide range of topics, including pension plans and retirement, job safety, and workplace discrimination. They control the employer-employee relationship as well as the rights and responsibilities of employees.

The Singapore employment laws are made up of a variety of different legislation which covers everything that has to do with the workplace. In the relationship between a company and their employees, employment lawyers play a critical role. This relationship begins with the hiring of an employee and continues through a full cycle that can conclude in the voluntary or forced termination of employment.

What are Employment Laws?

Employment laws in Singapore include the following, among others:

  • Recruiting
  • Advertising of job openings
  • New formalities
  • Remuneration
  • Promotion
  • Relocation of employees
  • Benefits and bonuses
  • Organisational restructuring
  • Voluntary exits
  • Litigation

Who is Covered by the Employment Act?

The Singapore Employment Act provides comprehensive protection to all employees working in Singapore, regardless of their nationality or employment status.

Under the Employment Act (EA), employees are safeguarded if they are engaged in various types of employment arrangements, including full-time, part-time, temporary, or contractual work. It’s worth noting that part-time workers, defined as those working less than 35 hours per week, are also covered by the Employment (Part-Time Employees) Regulations.

Regardless of the mode of payment, whether it’s hourly, daily, monthly, or piece-rated, employees are still entitled to the protections provided by the Act.

However, there are certain exceptions to the coverage of the Employment Act. Seafarers, domestic workers, and employees working for statutory boards or civil servants are not covered by the Act’s provisions. Statutory boards refer to specific autonomous government agencies like the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) or the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

For employees not covered by the Employment Act, their terms and conditions of employment will be governed by the specific employment contract they have with their employer.

It is crucial for both employers and employees to be aware of the provisions of the Employment Act and the specific terms outlined in their employment contracts to ensure a fair and compliant working relationship.

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When an employer plans to recruit a new employee, most times they have no knowledge about them. Under the employment laws in Singapore and guidelines by the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, it is prohibited for employers to discriminate against applicants based on certain qualities such as:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Marital status
  • Family responsibilities
  • Disability

Employers are also required to recruit employees on the basis of their skills, experience, and other non-discriminatory factors. The employees are to be treated fairly with equal opportunities and route for growth and rewards. The employment laws in Singapore aim to safeguard the workers’ rights.

Minimum Terms of a Contract Employment in Singapore

There are minimum terms of a contract employment regulated in employment law which include:

  • Name, address, line of business

  • Name, gender, age, address of employee
  • Occupation / type of job

  • Date of commencement of work

  • Description of main duties and responsibilities

  • Duration of employment

  • Working arrangements, working hours, number of working days per weeks, working from home

  • Place where the job is located

  • Wages including the basic rate of pay, overtime rate, fixed allowance and how its paid

  • Medical benefits and number of annual and medical leaves

  • Rights and obligations of both the employer and employee

  • Work agreement including date of work period

  • Place of work agreement establishment

  • Signatures of parties involved

Common issues in employment and labour laws and regulations are covered by employment laws. Employment terms and conditions, employee representation, labour relations, discrimination, maternity and family leave entitlements, and business sales are all common topics.

Can Employers Force Employees to Take Annual Leave?

Employers in Singapore are not allowed to force any of their employees to take annual leave. Such unreasonable practices include requiring employees to take their yearly leave entitlements without their approval or forcing them to take no-pay leave. An employer’s work pass privileges may be suspended if they do this.

If you come across such activities at work, you should report them to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which would take appropriate action against your hiring company.

Here are some of the employment laws defending employees’ rights and benefiting Singaporeans from the employment laws:

  • The labour law protects maternity rights in which pregnant employees are entitled to take three months paid maternity leave. This also applies to male workers by protecting their paternity rights. Male workers are given two days’ paternity leave if their wife gives birth or miscarries.
  • An employee is entitled to paid family leave in cases of marriage, baptism, or death of an employee’s child.
  • Employees are also entitled to sick leave in cases of illness or injury that is evidenced by a medical certificate or statement.
  • Employees are also entitled to long-term paid medical leave provided that such leave is recommended in writing by a doctor and lasts for a period greater than one year.
  • A worker becomes entitled to annual leave after working for 12 consecutive months
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Violation of Employment Laws in Singapore

Employers and employees that break employment laws in Singapore face a variety of penalties. Fines and jail are among the penalties that can be imposed. In addition to legal and financial penalties, the Singaporean government makes repeat offenders’ names public and instructs other government institutions and commercial banks to refuse them services and loans.

Despite this, firms in Singapore continue to break labour laws and regulations that protect workers’ rights. When an employee breaks the law, the penalty can only be applied if it is spelled out in a written contract or working agreement. If an employer violates employment regulations, such as by failing to pay wages on time, the employer will be required to pay a penalty equal to a percentage of the worker’s wages.

Employers must not go against company regulations which contain the rights and obligations of both the employer and employee, working conditions, rules of conduct, and period of validity of the company regulations.


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Can I run an online business without incorporating in Singapore?2020-11-20T11:59:02+08:00

Nope, you must register a company to run your online business. 

As a foreigner, can I be the shareholder of the company?2020-11-20T11:58:47+08:00

Yes, you can. 

Is it mandatory to have a Singaporean/ PR to incorporate a company in Singapore?2020-11-20T11:58:34+08:00

Yes, to incorporate a company in Singapore, you need at least one local resident. As a foreigner, you can appoint a nominee director or get an employment pass. 

What are the popular businesses in Singapore?2020-11-20T11:54:51+08:00

Some of the popular businesses in Singapore are laundry, online marketing, e-commerce, financial services, cleaning service, content writing and consulting. 

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