Employing in Singapore

Singapore might be one of the smallest countries in the world when measured in square kilometres, but it punches well above its weight in terms of global business significance and is an ideal steppingstone for expanding businesses from the West.

Seen as hard working, reliable and trustworthy, the productive Singaporean workforce can be expected to yield a strong return on investment. Singapore has also traditionally been open to expat workers, making it the perfect location for growing a multilingual, multicultural workforce. With low levels of bureaucracy, multiple free trade agreements and various types of government support for businesses, it’s easy to see why business is booming for foreign investors across a variety of sectors in Singapore.

TopSource Worldwide offers comprehensive support for businesses looking to employ in Singapore. We assist expanding businesses with navigating Singapore's employment landscape, ensuring adherence to the Employment Act and compliance with Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions. Our services streamline hiring, payroll and HR processes, making it easier for businesses to establish and maintain a workforce in Singapore's dynamic economy.

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Our Expertise

Managing a global workforce in Singapore

Managing a global workforce in Singapore demands an understanding of diverse cultural and regulatory environments. TopSource Worldwide provides expertise in handling the complexities of employee management in Singapore, with solutions that ensure regulatory compliance, employee benefits management, and streamlined administrative tasks. With TopSource, businesses can confidently manage a diverse workforce while focusing on growth and operational excellence in Singapore's competitive market.

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Extensive expertise

Our team of experienced, knowledgeable staff collectively provide up-to-date employment information across 180 countries, so you can always get accurate advice.

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Entity-free employment

Feel free to hire employees from all over the world without being weighed down by setting up entities, running complex payroll or recruiting a hiring team.

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Payroll without hassle

Have the confidence that your staff will always be paid accurately and on time, so that you can focus on your core business activities and work towards your success. 

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Always-on support

Access helpful, relevant, personalised advice whenever you need it, along with expert-led recruitment policies and tried-and-tested HR best practices.

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Global Employee Cost Calculator

Estimate the cost of your new hire with our calculator. Simply enter their location and salary information in to this handy tool to see what will be spent in employment costs each month.

Employment Cost Calculator

Singapore
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Singapore

British PoundSingapore Dollar
Base Salary (per month)£3,274.25SGD 5,596.00
Local employer's costs£0.00SGD 0.00
Total Cost (Annual)£39,291.04SGD 67,152.00
Hiring in Singapore

Please note - the above costs are an estimate, and the actual amount may differ based on a number of variables.

A monthly charge for Skill Development of $11.25 SGD for employers is mandatory

Additional setup and management fees may apply.

TESTIMONIALS

Hear from our clients about our EOR solutions in Singapore

"With TopSource we were able to have employees hired or maintained in Nutreco without having to establish an entity in these countries for only 1-2 employees. I think most countries are covered by TopSource, so they can help us with almost all cases. Good advice on conditions and direct contact with employees. Invoicing done directly to the company. An easy process compared to hiring employees by ourselves."

Annette van Duijnhoven
Nutreco

”We searched the market for a local payroll vendor in 2014 and we chose TopSource as our partner. We were looking for error-free and timely payroll processing and TopSource Worldwide delivers this, saving us time and money. We have worked together for 8 years now and would recommend them to anyone."

Praveen Lihinar
Sungard

”TopSource Worldwide has a detailed and methodical onboarding process that made it easy for us to get set up and running with our UK employees. They were able to take the worry out of trying to comply with all local laws and regulations. Because they have this knowledge we do not have to research on our own and hope we are in compliance. This has saved us hours of time and gives both the company and employees a sense of security."

Supervisor
Client based in Ft Worth, Texas, USA
GLOBAL EXPANSION STRATEGY

Personalised Employer of Record services in Singapore

TopSource Worldwide offers personalised Employer of Record (EOR) services tailored to meet the specific needs of your business in Singapore. This includes handling employee onboarding, payroll processing, tax compliance, employee benefits management, and HR support. Our EOR services ensure that your business meets all legal and regulatory requirements, providing a hassle-free solution to manage your Singapore-based employees.

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End-to-end Singapore payroll services

Looking to expand into Singapore? Our unparalleled expertise in global payroll services ensures that your business can seamlessly navigate the complexities of payroll on a global scale, supporting your Singapore expansion initiatives.

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Global entity management

Venturing into the Singaporean market can be both exciting and challenging. With distinct business regulations, cultural nuances, and economic landscapes, it's essential to have a clear roadmap for your business establishment journey.

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Accounting

Whether your goal is to process your purchase-to-pay transactions with minimum errors or manage your expense claim procedure, our team of experts can handle your accounting responsibilities, allowing you to focus on your core business and save time and money.

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Global EOR services

Managing a diverse global workforce can be complex. This is where TopSource steps in as an invaluable employer of record services partner for companies seeking to expand their global reach while ensuring compliance with local employment laws and regulations.

Global Expansion Simplified

How to do business in Singapore

Entering the Singaporean market presents a mix of excitement and challenges. Given unique business regulations, cultural intricacies, and economic dynamics, a well-defined roadmap is crucial for a successful business establishment.

TopSource Worldwide is with you at every stage. Whether it's navigating local regulations or facilitating seamless operational transitions, our expertise ensures a swift and efficient process for establishing your business in Singapore.

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Singapore Insights

Key insights into Singapore's landscape

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VAT rates: Singapore has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 7%, levied on the supply of goods and services.

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Ease of Doing Business rank: Singapore consistently ranks high, currently 2nd globally, in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index.

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Consumer Confidence Index: As of 2022, Singapore's Consumer Confidence Index was 100.6, indicating stable economic sentiment.

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Employee maternity/paternity leave: Maternity leave is 16 weeks, and paternity leave is 2 weeks, emphasising support for new parents in the workforce.

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Employee termination period: Standard notice for termination varies but is typically 1 month, following employment contract terms and labour regulations.

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Employee salary pay date: Wages are commonly paid monthly, with specific pay dates stipulated in employment contracts and subject to labour laws.

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Bank holidays: Singapore observes public holidays like Chinese New Year, National Day, and Deepavali, with a total of 11 public holidays in a year.

The Employment Act

In Singapore, labour laws are governed by the Employment Act. Prior to the 1st of April 2019, managers and executives with a monthly basic salary of more than $4,500 were not covered by this legislation. Now, all employees (with the exception of seafarers, domestic workers and public officers) are covered for by core provisions such as:

  • Minimum days of annual leave.
  • Paid public holidays and sick leave.
  • Timely payment of salary.
  • Statutory protection against wrongful dismissal.

Key changes to the act include:

  • Core provisions extended to all managers/executives. Managers and executives will continue to be excluded from additional protection under Part IV, which covers hours of work, rest day and overtime payments. This takes into consideration that their work is generally outcome-based rather than time-based.
  • Wrongful dismissal claims are now heard by the Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT) instead of the Ministry of Manpower.
  • Medical certificates from all registered doctors and dentists will be recognised for sick leave.

Overview of provisions in Singapore

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13th month payment/annual bonus

The salary paid to an employee obviously depends on the position and skills required. An annual bonus (equivalent to at least one month’s salary, commonly known as 13th month payment) has become a common practice in Singapore. The exact amount of annual bonus can vary from employee to employee as per the company policies and will normally be tied to the employee’s performance as well as performance of the company.

The details of the annual bonus policy will normally be specified in the employment contract. It’s not uncommon to see employees in Singapore receiving annual bonuses of two to three times their monthly salary during good economic times.

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Working hours & paid time off

Hours of work and rest days only apply to those employees governed by Part IV of the Employment Act. Managers and executives are not included in these provisions, so for this category of employees, working hours are free to be determined by agreement between the employee and the employer.

As a general rule in Singapore, office employees work from Monday through to Friday, from 9am to 6pm or 7pm, depending on the industry and company policies. It’s not uncommon for Singapore employees to work nine to 10 hours during the weekdays and half a day on Saturdays.

In addition to the traditional holiday entitlement (see below), employees in Singapore enjoy a wide range of statutory benefits including:

  • Sick leave (see below).
  • Adoption leave.
  • Childcare leave.
  • Maternity leave.
  • Paternity leave.
  • Shared parental leave.
  • Unpaid infant care leave.
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Salary

The Employment Act does not regulate the minimum salary every employee must be paid. In other words, there’s no minimum salary requirement and it’s subject to negotiation between the employer and the employee. However, the salary must be paid at least once a month within seven days after the end of the salary period. Overtime pay, if applicable, must be paid within 14 days of the stipulated salary period.

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Probationary period

The Employment Act does not have any clauses pertaining to the probation period for employees. As a common practice, employees are asked to serve a probation period of three to six months. The probation period is usually reflected by a shorter termination notice period.

Sick leave eligibility and entitlement

Employees are entitled to paid outpatient sick leave and paid hospitalisation leave if:

  • They are covered under the Employment Act.
  • They have served their employer for at least three months.
  • They have informed or tried to inform their employer within 48 hours of their absence.

The number of days of paid sick leave employees are entitled to depends on their length of service but can be up to 14 days for paid outpatient sick leave and 60 days for paid hospitalisation leave. The 60 days of paid hospitalisation leave includes the 14 days of paid outpatient sick leave entitlement.

Employers must provide paid sick leave to their employees if they are issued with a medicate certificate by any registered doctor or dentist indicating that they are unfit for work. Employees must have worked for at least three months to be entitled to paid outpatient sick leave or paid hospitalisation leave.

Between three and six months of service, entitlement is pro-rated as follows:

Number of months of service completed
Paid outpatient sick leave (days)
Paid hospitalisation leave (days)
3
5
15
4
8
30
5
11
45
6 and thereafter
14
60

 

Central Provident Fund (CPF)

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) is a key pillar of Singapore’s social security system. It was created under the Central Provident Fund Act and was originally enacted in 1955. The CPF administers the comprehensive social security savings plan that provides different types of benefits. These benefits include retirement, healthcare and family protection amongst other things.

Employers and employees make monthly contributions to the CPF which go into three different accounts:

  • The ‘ordinary account’ which can be used to buy a home, pay for CPF insurance, investment and education.
  • A ‘special account’ for old age and investment in retirement-related financial products.
  • A ‘MediSave account’ which can be used for hospitalisation expenses and approved medical insurance.

For employees that are Singapore citizens or permanent residents, the employer is also required to make contributions to the CPF fund.

Monthly contributions are made by both the employee and employer. The employer is responsible for sending the monthly payment (which includes both the employer’s and the employee’s respective contributions) by the 14th of the following month. The employee’s portion is then deducted from their salary.

The maximum CPF contribution rate for employers and employees is 17% and 20% respectively; however, this can be lower depending on certain factors such as the employee’s age, permanent resident status etc.

There’s no CPF contribution for foreign employees holding an employment pass or work permit in Singapore (if a foreign worker levy is paid). Clients wishing to hire resident employees will need to make CPF contributions for them which will help employees meet their retirement, housing and healthcare needs.

 

Skills Development Levy (SDL)

SDL is a compulsory levy that employers have to pay for employees working in Singapore, on top of CPF contributions and a foreign worker levy (if applicable). The CPF Board collects SDL on behalf of the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

The funds collected from SDL are channelled into the Skills Development Fund (SDF), which is used to support workforce upgrading programmes and to provide training grants when sending employees for training under the national Continuing Education and Training (CET) scheme.

Both the SDL and SDF are administrated by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

Terminations

Employers can legitimately dismiss their employees with notice or salary in lieu of notice in situations such as:

  • Poor performance — if their employee does not do their job to the required standards.

  • Redundancy — for example, if the employer has excess manpower, the company is undergoing restructuring or the employee’s job scope has changed and the old job scope no longer exists. For redundancy/retrenchment, it’s important to follow a fair and responsible practice.

Employers can legitimately dismiss their employees without notice due to misconduct. For example, if after due inquiry their employee was established to have committed theft, engaged in dishonest or disorderly conduct at work, was insubordinate or brought the company into disrepute.

If an employer is found to have wrongfully dismissed his employee, the ECT can:

  • Order the employer to reinstate the employee to their former employment and pay the employee an amount that is equivalent to the wages that the employee would have earned had they not been dismissed by the employer.

  • Order the employer to pay compensation.

The ECT will take reference from a prescribed compensation framework in determining the compensation order.

Important to note: as the Employer of Record, the responsibility for assessing the legal basis and issuing appropriate legal documentation for a potential termination is owned by TopSource Worldwide. It’s imperative that the work-side employer (client) consults TopSource Worldwide prior to any individual discussions taking place around possible termination of contracts.

Holiday entitlement

Annual leave entitlement depends on how many years of service the employee has held with the employer. The year of service begins from the day an employee starts work with the employer.

Number of Years of Service
Number of Days Holiday of entitlement
1st
7
2nd
8
3rd
9
4th
10
5th
11
6th
12
7th
13
8th and thereafter
14

Employ and pay anywhere

Specialising in multi-country payroll solutions

TopSource Worldwide offers comprehensive payroll outsourcing services, ensuring seamless and accurate management of your organisation's payroll functions. With cutting-edge technology and a team of experienced professionals, we handle payroll processing, tax compliance, and regulatory requirements with precision.

Calculate Your Employer of Record Taxes in Seconds

Employment Cost Calculator in Singapore

Our Employment Cost Calculator simplifies complex tax calculations for global businesses. Accurately assess tax obligations, ensuring compliance with local regulations. Streamline payroll management effortlessly with our user-friendly tool, providing transparency and efficiency in international workforce taxation.

In addition to calculating your EOR taxes, our calculator can also help you:

  • Understand the different types of EOR taxes
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest changes to EOR tax regulations
  • Avoid penalties for non-compliance
Our author

Mark Robbins

Global Sales Director

Mark is the Sales Director at Topsource Worldwide. He has been a pioneering figure in the global expansion space since 2013. He is the first salesperson to sell EOR services in Europe, a feat he accomplished in 2013. 

Published 2023-11-14 00:00:00

Updated 2023-11-15 00:00:00

Adrian Cooney

Reviewed by:

Adrian Cooney

Adrian Cooney

Fact checked by:

Adrian Cooney

Employer of Record FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Singaporean employment solutions

What is an Employer of Record in Singapore?

An Employer of Record (EOR) is a professional services provider that assumes the responsibility of being the legal employer for a company's workforce in Singapore. This entails managing tasks such as payroll processing, tax withholding, benefits administration, and ensuring compliance with local labour laws and regulations.

How do global employment services work?

Global employment services operate as a comprehensive solution for businesses seeking to expand their workforce across borders. These services, often provided by Employer of Record (EOR) companies like TopSource Worldwide, streamline the complexities of international employment.

What are the benefits of working with an Employer of Record in Singapore?

Employer of Record companies assume the legal responsibilities associated with employment, alleviating the burden of compliance, payroll, and HR management in Singapore. This allows companies to expand globally without the complexities of establishing legal entities in each location.

What is the difference between EOR & PEO?

An EOR acts as the legal employer, handling tasks like payroll, tax compliance, and benefits administration. This allows companies to expand internationally without establishing legal entities. On the other hand, a PEO shares employer responsibilities with the client company, often co-employing workers.

How are employer payroll taxes calculated in Singapore?

Calculating employer payroll taxes involves understanding the various taxes associated with employing workers and complying with tax regulations in Singapore. Key components include federal and state income taxes, Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes.

What global employment solutions does TopSource offer?

TopSource Worldwide facilitates hassle-free global expansion by acting as the legal employer, handling payroll, tax obligations, and HR responsibilities. With expertise in global entity management, TopSource assists businesses in navigating the intricacies of legal structures across borders.

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