Things to know before hiring employees in Singapore

Tapping on the right employees for your newly incorporated entity is essential and critical to the success of your business enterprise. This is why it is pertinent that all the employees that you hire are well-informed of the legal regulations and guidelines in the country Singapore Employment Act.

There are multiple factors that you as an employer need to consider before engaging in any kind of hiring human resources. Once you incorporate a company in Singapore, ensure that you know the following –

  • The practical aspects of the labour laws in Singapore (processing fees and costing)
  • Legal and practical formalities involved in hiring local and foreign employees
  • The differences between contract hiring, part time hiring and full time hiring.
  • The actual cost of employing someone, including all contributions and regulations regarding provident funds
  • All kinds of human resources statutory requirements and compliances
  • All guidelines to hire the right employees.

Singapore Employment Act – Introduction

All human resources and working regulations in Singapore are governed by the Singapore Employment Act. The Act is considered as the prime governing labour law in the country, responsible for covering and providing the basics to every employee what they deserve under any contract of service. There are, however, certain exceptions present in regards to the managers and the executives when it comes to annual leaves, other leaves, etc.

Who all are covered by the Singapore Employment Act?

The Act covers all employees – foreign and local – who fall under the jurisdiction of the same. Human resources can be hired in the following manner –

  • Full-time employees
  • Part-time employees
  • Temporary employees
  • Contract-based employees

Completely depending on the kind of terms with the employers, an employee can be paid in the following manner –

  • Hourly
  • Daily
  • Monthly
  • Piece rated

Hiring foreign employees

All foreign employees are regulated under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. The Act includes basis for all kinds of leave benefits for every foreign employee.

Foreign employees require a work visa, permitted and granted by the Ministry of Manpower before they start working in the country. Along with the work permits, individuals can also gain their employment pass from the same authority.

Work Visas and permits are issues to the employees with basic working skills, belonging to an approved country, depending on the work sector they are going to be employed in.

The Singapore Employment Pass is, of course, the most favored work permit/visa available to any experienced professional candidate – no matter what the position.

The eligibility for an Employment Pass –

  • A specialised job, with a managerial or an executive role
  • A fixed monthly salary – minimum of S$3,600 and higher depending on how old the applicant is
  • An acceptable profession and qualification

Hiring students

  • Employers in Singapore can hire students who are ordinarily citizens of Singapore or are permanent residents of the country. They can be hired for all jobs – full time or part time and will be eligible for all CPF contributions, unless there are any exemptions on hiring them!
  • The above does not apply to students who are interning as a part of their training and course of study. The interns shall be paid their monthly allowance and nothing more.
  • Foreign students cannot be put to work in Singapore during their school terms and vacations, unless they do receive a permit to do so through the authorities under the Employment of Foreign Manpower (work pass exemptions) notification programme.

Singapore Employment Contract
The Singapore Employment Contract is a legal agreement between the employer and the employee defining the critical relationship between them. A signed employment contract means that the employer is in agreement to employ the employee, and vice versa.

Both parties extend their agreement to work through the contract.

Since the year 2016, all employers in Singapore are required to issue Key Employment Terms to the individuals covered by the Singapore Employment Act, in writing. The process of the same should be completed in 14 days of employment.

The contract rightly mentions the following items –

  • Date of the contract
  • Details of salary
  • Details on the duties and the job profile
  • Definition and details of the working hours
  • Annual leaves
  • Rest days
  • Sick days
  • Parental leaves, childcare leaves and maternity leaves
  • Confidentiality clauses
  • Definition and details on the governing Act.

Recruitment Guidelines
All employers in Singapore are encouraged to follow the principle recruitment guidelines provided by the Government and the Act, in order to function in a fair and a progressive manner. Following these guidelines entails a better support to the diverse and efficient workforce of Singapore.

The following are some of the most fair recruitment guidelines issued by the Ministry of Manpower

  • Candidate’s ability and expertise will always matter over their race, ethnicity, age, status, religion, disability, and gender.
  • Meritocracy shall be maintained in all cases of recruitment
  • The selection criteria should only be restricted to the job requirements. The same should be known to all the applicants as well.
  • No personal attributes, which can be deemed discriminatory shall be advertised for recruitment purposes, unless justified in certain job conditions.
  • Job applications shall only require the potential candidates to list the necessary information, as per the job requirements. No personal data shall be collected in any case.
  • Questions on recruitment tests and interview shall pertain only to the specific requirements of the job.