Want to Work in Singapore? Here's What You Need to Know!

Want to Work in Singapore? Here's What You Need to Know!

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If you plan to work in Singapore, you need to be prepared for your big move. In this guide, we’ll talk about what to expect regarding working hours, holidays, taxes, insurance, visas, and more.

Working Hours and Overtime

In general, you can expect to have the following work arrangements if you work in Singapore:

  • If you work 5 days or less a week, you can expect to work up to 9 hours a day or 44 hours per week
  • If you work for more than 5 days per week, you’re required to work for up to eight (8) hours a day or 44 hours per week
  • You’re not allowed to work for more than 12 hours per day, and you must receive at least one rest day per week. You’re also not allowed to work continuously for six hours without a break. However, if you’re required to work continuously for up to eight (8) hours, you’ll receive a break of at least 45 minutes to eat

Regarding overtime, your employer must pay you at least 1.5 times your base pay and you must receive your payment within 14 days of the final day of the salary period. Employees are prohibited from working more than 72 hours per week. Working on rest days or public holidays are not included in this limit.

Average Commuting Time

If you’re not lucky enough to find a job that offers remote work, you’ll likely face a lengthy commute to get to work. The public transit research company ‘Moovit Insights’ found that people spend a daily average of 84 minutes riding public transportation in Singapore. Coincidentally, this is equal to the average daily commute in London.

While these statistics might seem a little disheartening if you plan to work in Singapore, at least you don’t have to worry about waiting on public transport. The average wait time at a stop is only 12 minutes.

Holiday Entitlement and Public Holidays in Singapore

Employees are entitled to the following eleven public holidays:

  1. New Year’s Day
  1. Good Friday
  1. National Day
  1. Labour Day
  1. Hari Raya Haji
  1. Chinese New Year – first day
  1. Chinese New Year – second day
  1. Vesak Day
  1. Christmas Day
  1. Hari Raya Puasa
  1. Deepavali

If your employer asks you to work on a public holiday, you’re entitled to receive an extra day’s salary at the base rate of pay or an off in lieu depending on your contract terms.

The Employment Pass

If you’re a foreign professional who has received a job offer in Singapore, you might be eligible for the Employment Pass. The Employment Pass is a work visa given to foreign professionals by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore. Only your employer or an authorised third party are allowed to apply for an Employment Pass on your behalf.

In addition to making it easier to work in Singapore, the Employment Pass also makes the process of applying for Permanent Residence (PR) easier. The Employment Pass lasts for two years for first-time candidates although you can renew it for periods of up to three years after that.

To qualify for the Employment Pass, you must:

  • Have a job offer from a company that operates in Singapore
  • Earn at least S$5,000 as a fixed monthly salary
  • Work in a managerial, executive, or specialised job
  • Possess acceptable qualifications, such as a university degree from a respected university, professional qualifications, or a specialised skill-set

Whether you're an offshore foreigner thinking of relocating to Singapore or an existing Employment Pass holder considering working under your own company, we've got you covered. If you receive your Employment Pass and want to bring your family with you to Singapore, the next step is to apply for a Dependent Pass. Once again, your employer or an authorized third party must complete this application for you. You can only bring your legally married spouse and unmarried children under 21 (including those legally adopted) to join you. To be eligible, you as the Employment Pass holder must earn at least S$6,000 as a fixed monthly salary.

Click here to find a list of other Singaporean work permits and passes.

Job Termination

In Singapore, you have the right to resign from your job whenever you want. All you have to do is give your employer advance written notice according to the terms of your contract. If you want to leave your job without providing a notice, you’ll have to pay compensation instead. Your employer is not allowed to reject your notice of resignation.

The Healthcare System in Singapore

Singapore is proud to provide universal healthcare for its citizens, permanent residents, and non-residents. You have the option to use either the Singapore state healthcare system or the Singapore private healthcare system.

Singapore doesn’t use a welfare programme to fund its healthcare services. Instead, every citizen and permanent resident is required to subscribe to an approved basic health insurance plan, which is funded by each individual’s contribution to the national social security savings scheme.

Terms & Conditions of Paid Sick Leave

Employees who are covered by the Employment Act and have worked for at least three months under a single employer are entitled to paid sick leave. To receive this benefit, the employee is required to inform the employer about his/her absence within 48 hours, and the cause of absence should be certified by a company doctor, a company-approved doctor or government doctor.  

Those who have worked for at least six months under one employer get full entitlement to paid sick and hospitalisation leave (14 days for paid sick and 60 days for paid hospitalisation). The 14-day paid sick leave is included in the 60 days of hospitalisation.

Paying Taxes in Singapore

Singapore uses a progressive income tax structure. One of the most important components of the Singaporean tax structure is that you’re only taxed on the income that you earn in Singapore (with a few exceptions). Moreover, the tax rate on capital gains and dividends received from Singapore-based companies is 0%. The tax brackets are as follows:

  • 0% on the first S$20,000
  • 2% on the next S$10,000
  • 3.5% on the next S$10,000
  • 7% on the next S$40,000
  • 11.5% on the next S$40,000
  • 15% on the next S$40,000
  • 18% on the next S$40,000
  • 19% on the next S$40,000
  • 19.5% on the next S$40,000
  • 20% on the next S$40,000
  • 22% on all income above S$320,000

All Singapore residents have to file a personal tax return no later than 15th April every year if their annual income exceeds S$22,000.

When in Doubt, Reach Out!

When a foreigner is issued an Employment Pass in Singapore, there are a few restrictions to keep in mind! For example, Employment Pass holders of a company cannot hold a directorship in another company.  However, it is still possible to own shares in a Singapore company. Sprout offers expert incorporation services for foreigners at budget-friendly rates. Any questions? Feel free to contact us, we’ll respond within 24 hours.