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Singapore Employment Act

What is the Singapore Employment Act?

The employment act covers all employees, except for the following

  • Managerial, executive and confidential positions (However, managers and executives earning S$2,600 basic monthly salary and below are covered for the purpose of salary protection. All other provisions do not apply to them.)
  • Domestic Workers
  • Seamen
  • Any person employed by a Statutory Board or the Government.

Related Read: What You Need to Know About Singapore Employment Pass »

The Essential Features of the Employment Contract at a Glance

Contract of Service

A contract of service is any agreement whether in writing or verbal, where one person agrees to be an employee and the other agrees to be his employer. An apprenticeship contract or agreement is also considered a contract of service.
The essential clauses of contract of service are

  • Commencement of employment
  • Appointment – job title and job scope
  • Hours of work
  • Probation period, if any
  • Remuneration
  • Employee’s benefits
  • Termination of contract – notice period and
  • Code of conduct


Failure to pay salaries in accordance with provisions of the Employment Act is considered an offence. Employees who are not paid for work done can report employers to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for investigation.

Hours of Work and Overtime

An employee covered by Part IV of the Employment Act is not required under his/her contract of service to work more than eight hours in a day or 44 hours in a week.

Public Holidays

All employees covered by the Employment Act are entitled to 11 paid public holidays in a year.
The 11 gazetted public holidays are

  • New Year’s Day
  • Chinese New Year (two days)
  • Hari Raya Puasa
  • Hari Raya Haji
  • Good Friday
  • Labour Day
  • Vesak Day
  • National Day
  • Deepavali and
  • Christmas Day


Employees earning less than S$2,000 per month must have served at least 3 months with their employer to avail of the annual leave. The annual leave you are entitled to is stipulated on your employment contract.

Probation Period

The Employment Act of Singapore does not have any clauses that specifies the probation period for employees.

Duties and Obligations of Employers in Singapore

The employment contract should contain the following items

  • Appointment position
  • Duration of the employment contract
  • Employee’s commencement date
  • Remuneration package
  • Hours of work
  • Employee benefits
  • Probation clause
  • Code of conduct
  • Termination

Related Read: Singapore Statutory Compliance Requirements »

Age Restrictions

The legal age to work in Singapore is 17 years old and above. The retirement age in Singapore is 62 years.

Hiring Foreign Employees

Under the Employment Act, a foreigner must have valid work visa to be able to work in Singapore. If you wish to hire a foreigner, you will have to apply for a valid work pass or work permit on his/her behalf before he/she can commence employment with you.
The foreign work force in Singapore is classified into three main groups

  • Skilled professionals
  • Semi-skilled professionals
  • Unskilled professionals

Related Read: Overview of Singapore Work Visas »

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