KNOWLEDGE BASE Employee Expectations In Singapore

The information on this page was current at the time it was published. Regulations, trends, statistics, and other information are constantly changing. While we strive to update our Knowledge Base, we strongly suggest you use these pages as a general guide and be sure to verify any regulations, statistics, guidelines, or other information that are important to your efforts.


Employee Expectations In Singapore


General overview of expectations and best practices

If you do hire in Singapore, here is a general overview of some expectations your employees will have based on what’s normal. While not all of these are regulations, they are considered best practices. Expected employee norms, benefits & regulations include:

  • A 13th month or annual bonus is not mandatory but is considered best practice and common in Singapore for non-commissioned employees. Sales people on commissions also expect an annual bonus which can be a percentage of their sales or several months’ salary based on performance for the sales person and the company.

  • If your employees work on a public holiday, you must pay them an extra day’s salary on top of that day’s salary.

  • The annual vacation leave in Singapore for mid-level employees is approximately 14 days but with its being so competitive for great employees, companies are offering more attractive vacation terms. The minimum required by law is 7 days and 1 additional day per year after that. Senior executives typically receive more vacation time and that can range 3-6 weeks on average.  

  • Singapore offers a national health insurance for employees and a premium supplementary insurance is often an attractive benefit as a part of the hiring package especially for executive level employees.This is negotiable and can help with getting the employees you want.

  • Singapore does allow for a probation period that typically ranges from 3-6 months. This should be agreed to in advance in the employment contract as well as the specific milestones employees will be measured on for permanent hire. 1 month’s termination notice on behalf of the employer or employee is the generally agreed upon term, but this is not fixed.

  • Singapore requires approximately 16%-20% on top of employee salary to be allocated to benefits such as their CPF (Central Providence Fund), which is the main nationally mandated benefit or social security expense similar to a retirement fund.  

  • There's no absolute minimum wage law in Singapore, the Progressive Wage Model provides minimum thresholds for specific sectors.The Ministry of Manpower website offers the most current information on the Progressive Wage Model and NWC recommendations.

Working Hours: What are the standards in Singapore?

Every country is different in how it handles the standard work week, vacation policies, and even the standard day.  As you set up shop, it’s important to understand the normal practices in that country.

Generally, office hours fall within the range of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm or 6:00 pm, with a lunch break in between.Of course, some service-related businesses such as restaurants can be open up to 24 hours per day. The maximum required work hours per week are 44. If you search online to get a sense for regular work weeks in Singapore, you’ll see that answers vary.  As an employer in Singapore, it’s important to understand the official policies in order to ensure you are complying.  


Understanding Singapore’s Employment Act: What is it and who does it cover?

The Employment Act is Singapore's main labour law. It provides for the basic terms and working conditions for all types of employees, with some exceptions. In order to ensure that you are familiar with the employment act and who is covered, review Employment Act here. At this site you can see:

  • Who is covered by the Employment Act

  • Amendments to the Employment Act

  • Templates and resources for KETs and pay slips

  • Employment Act adivisory services

  • Workright


Singapore Social Security: The Central Provident Fund

Singapore has a form of social security called Central Provident Fund (CPF), which requires contribution from both employers and employees. As an employer, you’ll need to be familiar with the CFP and its guidelines.  You can get more information at the government CPF website.

Once in the CPF system, residents receive benefits in retirement, healthcare, home ownership, family protection, and asset enhancement. Monthly contributions to the CPF only begin once a foreigner is a permanent resident, and are deposited into three accounts:

  • Ordinary account- savings in this account can be used to buy a home, pay for CPF insurance, make investments and pay for education

  • Special account- savings reserved for old age, contingency purposes and investment in retirement-related financial products

  • Medisave account- savings can be used for hospitalisation expenses and approved medical insurances

At age 55, a Retirement Account (RA) is created for you.  


Employment Termination

There are typically 3 types of termination, employee-initiated, company-initiated, and the ending of an agreed-upon contract. The Employment Act of Singapore is the governing statute and applies to most types of employees except executives and managerial staff, some government workers, and some domestic workers. Every employment contract will require stipulations to follow for both the employer and employee for how each type of situation is the handled, how much notice to provide, any sort of payment in lieu of notice that might apply or additional compensation that employees are eligible for. The employment contract should outline both satisfactory and unsatisfactory terminations so both parties have clear guidelines to follow in advance.



Singapore Employment Act

Central Provident Fund for employers

KNOWLEDGE BASE Employee Expectations In Singapore