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Working Conditions in Singapore

Every expat who accepts a job in Singapore might also be curious about the working conditions in this small country: What are the regular working hours? Is overtime paid? Is the salary reasonable? Find answers to these and other questions in our article on working conditions in Singapore.
Singapore's working conditions are stipulated in the Employment Act by the Ministry of Manpower.
  • The working conditions in Singapore are covered by the Employment Act of the Ministry of Manpower and are therefore very detailed and strict.
  • Working hours are also laid out by the Employment Act: eight hours per day for employees and twelve hours for shift workers. However, in either case, no more than 44 hours per week are allowed.
  • Singapore celebrates eleven public holidays and eight festivals, a testimony to the country’s cultural and religious diversity.
  • The salaries in Singapore are quite competitive, but since there is no minimum wage, make sure you negotiate your salary well before signing the contract.


Working conditions in Singapore are strictly regulated by the Employment Act, and contracts are often detailed and strict. As a consequence, workers’ protests and strikes are rare. While many aspects of your employment in Singapore might be determined by legal clauses, you can always try to negotiate flexible working hours and other details with your company.

Strictly Regulated: Working Hours in Singapore

According to the Employment Act which lays out the working conditions in Singapore, an employee is not supposed to work more than eight hours per day. Shift workers should not work more than twelve hours per day. In either case, employees should not work more than 44 hours per week. Many businesses are open Monday through Friday, with Saturday being a half day. However, a five-day work week is gaining popularity as well.

Furthermore, you are entitled to paid leave (vacation) if you are covered under Part IV of the Employment Act and have worked for your employer at least three months. Vacation leave varies from seven to 14 days depending on length of service and seniority.

Hard Work Pays Off: Overtime

Exceptions can be made for employees to work overtime. However, you are not allowed to work more than 72 hours in overtime per month in total. You cannot exceed this limit unless the Ministry of Manpower has granted an exemption. If your employer agrees to reimburse you for overtime, he or she is obligated to pay an allowance of at least 1.5 times of your hourly basic rate.

Overtime allowances are mandatory for employees with a monthly salary of less than 2,500 SGD and for workmen with a monthly salary of less than 4,500 SGD. All other categories of employees have to negotiate their overtime allowance and the amount with their employer and need to refer to their employment contract.

Celebrating Culture and Religion

Expats in Singapore benefit from eleven public holidays and eight major festivals throughout the year. They are a testimony to the cultural and religious diversity of the small country. Singapore’s major public and religious holidays include:

  • Easter
  • Christmas and New Year’s Day
  • National Day
  • Buddhist Vesak Day
  • Muslim Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha
  • Hindu Deepavali

In addition, the country celebrates all Malay, Chinese, and Indian festivals, and some companies are closed for the Lunar New Year.

Big Paychecks in Singapore

Singapore is well known for its excellent working conditions, but also for its competitive salaries. In 2016, the average income of a software engineer was 47,000 SGD, an information technology consultant made 63,000 SGD, and regional sales managers earned 91,500 SGD. However, you should make sure to negotiate your salary so that it covers your cost of living in Singapore before signing your employment contract. After all, there is no minimum wage in Singapore, and your salary depends on what you and your employer agree upon.

Employees who are covered by the Employment Act and who earn more than 4,500 SGD per month may be subject to salary deductions. Deductions occur, for example, for absence from work, damage or loss of items entrusted to an employee, the cost of meals or accommodation, and so on. However, these deductions may not exceed 50% of the overall monthly salary.

If you want to learn more about the working conditions in Singapore, visit the Ministry of Manpower and find out about employment practices in the country.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Donald Moore

"I moved to Singapore to build up my own business. In fact, it was easier than expected. With InterNations I quickly got in touch with the lively expat community here."

Barbara Sciera

"Settling as an expat woman in a different culture is always hard. But with InterNations I got to know many other expat spouses that helped me."

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