Employment Law

by | Aug 20, 2020

Singapore Employment Laws:
Every employer needs to know today

The relationship shared between an employer and his employees largely determines the future of a business. The legal side of every business is equally important for the future of any business. Drafting a work contract for full-timers or remote specialists, addressing unfair treatment, resolution of disputes and just about everything legal entailed between an employer-employee relation needs impeccable execution by an experienced employment lawyer in Singapore.

It is important for any lawyer to keep the business objectives in mind while addressing matters in tandem with Singapore’s employment act. Working out effective work contracts can help increase employee retention and bring greater productivity and results.

Companies that violate any of the employment laws can unintentionally welcome serious consequences upon their business- right from license revocation, fines to be paid to the government and other adverse punitive formats. An employment lawyer or law firm experienced in employment acts of Singapore can ensure that your business follows best practices to ensure the well-being and success of your firm and employees.


Here are the key factors that your Employment Law advisor must share with you:

1. Complying with Singapore’s employment regulations

You need to understand the basics. Singapore’s employment regulations are derived from the Employment Act and Common Law.

The Employment Act (the EA) lays out the standards/ terms and conditions that employers must follow when hiring their full-time staff. Work contracts are drawn basis these. This is how one states the terms of compensation, work duration, rewards, non-contend provisions, etc.

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There might be a time when you hire part-time employees. In this case, the part-time employees who fall under the EA also stay protected. This comes under the Employment (Part-Time Employees) Regulations.

2. What makes the Employment Act, Singapore so robust and business-friendly?

Most businesses overseas get alarmed since most laws not always work in their favour. But, Singapore is proud to hold one of the best drafted and business-friendly employment regulatory. The Global Competitiveness Report (2019) recognized them as the best performer in the protection of labour-employee relations.

Singapore’s Employment Act protects local as well as foreign workers. It covers all employees who are under an employer’s service contract in Singapore.

The EA offers protection to an employee irrespective of payment structure- monthly/ hourly/ daily or project basis.

The protection is offered under the below terms of:

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (employee working less than 35 hours/week)
  • Under specific project contract
  • Temporary basis

3. Categories not covered by the EA

There are certain categories which aren’t covered by the EA. These include:

  • Civil servants
  • Statutory boards (autonomous government agencies)
  • Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)
  • Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
  • Seafarers
  • Domestic Workers

If your employee comes under any of the above categories, then his term can be governed by the specific employment contract between employer-employee. A certified employment lawyer in Singapore can help you chalk this out.

4. Other Laws & Common law

Employee-employer relations are also governed by certain other laws.

  • Child Development Co-Savings Act determines the subject of maternity leave and maternity pay.
  • Central Provident Fund Act enables that businesses contribute to the Central Provident Fund.
  • Basic trust, vote of confidence and confidentiality, transparent and honest dealing in one’s work is covered by the common law.

5. Division of Provision

As the EA regulations are bifurcated, a legal advisor in Singapore can guide you as to which provisions are applicable to your employers.

Core Provisions (applied to all categories) Basis regulations included such as salary, paid public holidays, paid leaves (annually and on account of sickness), record-maintenance and employment dismissal.
Part IV Provisions (applied only to specific categories such as the ones who hold lower levels of protection in employment)

(workmen and non-workmen)

Concerning rights included such as hours of work (regular), overtime payment, rest days.

Managers and executives (carrying out executive an supervisory functions) come in a category which holds certain different protection guidelines. For instance, if the employee is a professional with specialized skill or tertiary education; then an employment lawyer will treat this bit differently basis different regulations.

6. Staying updated with 2019 Amendments in the EA

A couple of key labour law reforms have been passed by Singapore to strengthen employer-employee relations.

  • Now, the Employment Claims Tribunals hears the wrongful dismissal claims instead of Minister for Manpower.
  • Salary bar for non-workmen (in order to qualify for Part IV provisions) came to be raised from $2,500 to $2,600.
  • Recognition for paid sick leaves is acceptable through a medical certificate from a registered doctor/ dentist.
  • Managers and executives are covered by the core provisions.

A business legal advisor is an important driving force for your company’s compliance with Singapore’s labour laws. We understand that it can be quite tedious to find someone whom you can trust with your company’s insider matters and go onto settle issues rapidly. For this reason, it is advisable to always pick someone who genuinely understands and respects your business operations, objectives and intentions.

In order to avoid getting stuck in legal loopholes and ensure smooth business operations, it is considered a smart move to hire a Singapore top lawyer who will help you navigate.


Start a quick chat to get legal advice for your business!

About the author

About the author

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan is the Founder and Managing Director of Tembusu Law. He is also the founder of LawGuide Singapore, a prominent legaltech startup which successfully created and launched Singapore’s first legal chatbot in 2017.