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Postcard Series: Employing a worker in Singapore

We created this series to help businesses who are considering expanding and hiring staff internationally.  

In this postcard series, members of our Sales & Business Development team have provided helpful tips on international employment. So far, we have discussed employment rules in European countries. In this post, Duncan Taylor, a member of our Business and Development team discusses employment rules in Singapore, a country where we have seen an increasing demand over the months.

The first thing to know is that in Singapore there is a differentiation between a “citizen” and a “non-citizen.” As we will see below, in certain circumstances such as maternity cover, local workers may benefit from more advantageous conditions than expatriate workers.

The 3 most common questions I hear regarding employing in Singapore are the following:

1. Contracts 

Can I trial a worker using a fixed-term employment contract, as I am not sure whether it will work out in the long-term?

Yes, fixed-term contracts are possible, BUT only if you have a valid reason, such as for a specific project, a seasonal worker or for maternity cover. Fixed-term contracts are only valid for the specified period and ends when the project/task is completed. When in doubt, I suggest discussing your options with a knowledgeable professional such as myself before offering the position to the worker. This is a great way to make sure you’ll be fully compliant.

2. Termination Rules and Costs 

What do I need to know about termination and severance pay in Singapore? 

Terminations must be subject to a justifiable reason. An employer who wishes to terminate the employment relationship must give notice to the employee in writing. Terminations are always a complex process and again, I highly suggest getting in touch with a professional such as myself for well-rounded advice.

3. Statutory Employee Benefits 

What are the statutory employee benefits in Singapore?

This is a common question I am frequently asked by clients, as it can vary from country to country.

Paid Holiday Leave 
Statutory paid leave entitlement is dependent on the employee’s years of service. However, it is customary practice to provide 14 days. On top of that, there are 11 public holidays per year. One thing to note is that if a public holiday falls on a rest day, the following working day will be a paid holiday.

16 weeks for “citizens” and 12 for “non-citizens.” As mentioned above locals have more favourable conditions than expats. During maternity leave, employees are entitled to their full salary.

Sick Pay 
The statutory sick leave only kicks in after 3 months of employment. Furthermore, there are two types of sick days to think about: non-hospitalisation leave and paid hospitalisation leave.

Using an international PEO/EOR solution to expand into Singapore and hire staff compliantly  

With our employer of record solution, you can employ your talent in Singapore without any of the HR hassle. We take care of the on boarding, payroll and other HR requirements.

For further information on employment rules in Singapore, get in contact with us via email or by phone +41 32 732 9700 or +1 833 972 6346.

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