All categories

Your Guide to Hiring in Singapore(Part 1)

Your Guide to Hiring in Singapore (Part 1)

Growth is an integral part of a start-up. It is one of its defining characteristics, apart from innovation and edginess. So, even if you started out with little more than a powerful idea fueled by burning passion, sooner than later you will need to get more help.

When you do need to hire employees, make sure you are on the right side of the law.



1. Employment Act

This is the main labour law in Singapore. It sets out terms and standards of employment for employees, covering things like salary, rest days, work hours, annual leave, and working, termination and retrenchment conditions.


Local and foreign employees - full-timers, part-timers, temporary and contract workers – under a contract of service with an employer are covered by this Act. Who it doesn’t cover are:
• Professional, Managers, and Executives (PMEs) who draw a monthly salary of more than S$4,500
• domestic workers
• seamen
• government employees


Independent contractors hired to do a job and freelancers do not come under the Act either.


Where to find out more:



2. Central Provident Fund Act

Singapore has a unique compulsory national savings scheme for working Singaporeans and its permanent residents. Both employees and employers contribute to this fund which goes to retirement, healthcare and housing needs.


This Act dictates how both parties contribute to the fund.


Where to find out more:

3. Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSHA)
This Act protects the safety, health and welfare of those working in all workplaces in Singapore, including corporate offices. It requires all stakeholders - employers, organisations, occupiers in charge of the workplace, manufacturers and supplies, those who install or erect the machinery and equipment, and the employee - to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of persons at the workplace.


You wouldn’t want to run afoul of this Act because penalties run into six figures and come with jail terms.


Where to find out more:

4. Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA)
The Act allows all employees – Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) included - to make claims for work-related injuries or diseases without having to take legal action. It covers medical leave wages, medical expenses, and lump-sum compensation for permanent incapacity or death.


Independent contractors, the self-employed, domestic workers, and uniformed personnel, however, don’t come under the Act.


Where to find out more:

5. Protection of Harassment Act (POHA)
This Act protects workers, including those who provide public service, against harassment, unlawful stalking, online harassment, cyber bullying and other anti-social behavior. It provides civil and criminal recourse for victims including protection orders against offenders.


The Act is quite far-reaching, covering intentional and unintentional offenses and even those committed outside of Singapore.


Where to find out more:

6. Child Co-Savings Development Act
Singapore is pro-family because of its need to improve birthrates. So, its laws reflect this as well. This Act protects parents (including single, unwed parents) from discrimination by employers.


Paternity and maternity leaves all come under this Act. Singaporean women who have been employed in the company for at least three continuous months are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave. Fathers get two weeks of paternity leave.


Where to find out more:  



Related stories

Know your laws to work them to your advantage

Making your Contract work for you

Growing pains - the legal & logistical minefield of Hiring

Your Ideas, their Rights and everything in between

New Laws to look out for if you’re running a Tech Company in Southeast Asia

5 Legal Mistakes that Entrepreneurs tend to make