For employees that earn below S$2,000 per month, the sick leave entitlements under the Employment Act are highlighted below;
Where the employee has worked for six months:
- 14 days’ sick leave and 60 days’ (inclusive of the 14 days) of hospitalization leave annually.
Where the employee has worked for five months;
- 11 days’ sick leave and 45 days’ hospitalisation (inclusive of the 11 days) leave annually.
Where the employee has worked for four months;
- eight days’ sick leave and 30 days’ hospitalisation (inclusive of the eight days) leave annually.
Where the employee has worked for three months;
- five days’ sick leave and 15 days’ hospitalization (inclusive of the five days) leave annually.
For the sick leave mentioned above to be honored by the employer, the employee is required to produce a valid medical certificate from a company doctor, government doctor, or doctor from a certified medical institution.
In Singapore, the typical sick leave coincides with the above minimum requirement as laid out by the Employment Act.
There are no special statutory requirements or arrangements for health insurance under the Singapore Employment Act. However, Medishield, a low-cost, basic-tier insurance package, is available for all employees in Singapore. A certain portion of employees’ salaries is dedicated to their Medisave account. The Medisave account enables employees to treat themselves in the event of a severe illness or during their old age. Premiums for Medishield are deducted from the employee’s Medisave account.
Health insurance benefits in Singapore are strictly dependent on the employer. Most large companies that can afford to provide private health insurance schemes for their employees usually do so. Employers may also seek to offer their employees, whether local or foreign, private health insurance plans beyond the basic Medishield insurance scheme.
Maternity and Childcare Leave
Under the Employment Act, all female employees that have been with an employer for longer than three months automatically qualify for 16 weeks of maternity leave with paid benefits and are exempted from being dismissed from their job during this period. Employers are strictly mandated to pay all maternity benefits in full should a dismissal be issued to the employee within three months of their leave period. Also, a female employee is eligible for six days of childcare leave annually as long as she has worked for the employer for longer than three months and is a parent to a child younger than seven years old.
Employers generally subscribe to the maternity and childcare leave stipulated under the Singapore Employment Act.
Probation periods are not covered by the Singapore Employment Act. Generally, employers will subject employees to a probation period of three to six months. This usually precedes a shorter termination period.
Where there is a clear breach of contract, the employment contract may wilfully be terminated by either party with or without notice. Either employer or employee may also terminate the employment contract with a written notice or paying salary in notice of the other party. The Employment Act does not stipulate how long employment contract termination should be; this will be agreed upon by both parties in the employment contract.
In Singapore, a two weeks’ notice is issued for an employer in the probation period, and one month following the recruitment of an employee. While either party may cancel the contract by notifying and paying salary to the other party, the Singapore courts have since ruled that this may be impractical, especially for an employee, to fulfill.
Retrenchment, Layoffs, and Downsizing
For all employees that earn below S$2,000 monthly, the Singapore Employment Act stipulates the following during instances of retrenchment, layoffs, or downsizing:
- Employees must be paid their benefits and salaries in full on their last working day.
- The duration must be the same as that agreed upon in the employment contract.
- Employees that have served for more than three years in a company are entitled to a form of retrenchment benefit (although the exact amount isn’t stipulated in the Employment Act). Employees that have served for less are not eligible for retrenchment benefits.
Since retrenchments are rarely a good thing for the economy, the Ministry of Manpower advises companies to go about it as honestly and responsibly as possible.
In Singapore, retrenchment benefits typically depend on the employer. Smaller companies will usually be unable to offer more than the minimum requirements stipulated by the Employment Act. Therefore, employers and employees are urged to agree to the benefits beforehand in the employment contract.
Education and Training
Education and training, while encouraged and on some occasions supported by the Ministry of Manpower, is not a statutory requirement and not covered in the Employment Act.
Training and education of employees are to be conducted entirely at the discretion of the company.
Non-Statutory Benefits and Perks
Apart from the standard statutory benefits covered under the Singapore Employment Act, some companies provide extra perks and benefits to their employees that can sometimes extend to their close family members. Some popular ones include the following:
Personal, healthcare, and wellbeing benefits – Most companies in Singapore provide additional health insurance packages and schemes for their employees that cover hospitalization and personal accidents.
Travel benefits – For employees that frequently travel for company duties, some employers provide transportation reimbursements and allowances to cover travel expenses.
Relocation packages – Employees that have had to move to Singapore for work are often compensated via a relocation allowance or package. Such expatriation packages may include paid shipping of personal items, paid airfare, payment of utility bills, children’s tuition, and subsidized housing, among other things.
Employee stock purchase plans – Usually accrued to only senior employees, some companies avail their staff to stock purchase plans.
Extra perks – Some additional perks offered by some companies include the following: sponsoring employee training and education, paid corporate memberships, paid mobile phone plans, paid gym memberships, and restaurant vouchers, among others.