This garden city-state is not only beautifully designed and well-kept, it ranks among the world’s most competitive economies, with a gross national income of $54,530 USD per capita—comparable to the $58,270 per capita income in the U.S.
Manufacturing and services are the main drivers of economic growth in Singapore, and regulatory efficiency grants business owners a transparent and straightforward start-up process. The local government continues to promote future-focused policies that support the development of a talented workforce with skill sets attractive to foreign investors. In fact, Singapore ranks as the best country in the world in human capital development—making it an especially attractive option for global expansion.
If employing workers in Singapore is on your radar, it’s important to consider how labor laws and cultural norms can affect your growth and workforce strategy. Here are a few factors to weigh:
- Workweek: The standard workweek in Singapore is 44 hours, and employees may not be required to work more than six consecutive hours without a break. Employees who are required to work more than eight hours a day or 44 hours a week must be paid time and a half.
- Right to organize: An employment contract may not restrict the right of an employee to participate in or join a registered trade union. Any attempt to prohibit a person from joining or force resigning from a trade union is punishable by fine or imprisonment.
- Vacation: Employees who have worked with a company for three months are entitled to seven days of paid vacation annually and accrue one additional day for every year of service, up to 14 days.
- Holidays: Singapore observes 10 public holidays, and if employees work on a holiday, they are entitled to a full day’s pay in addition to their regular pay. When a holiday falls on a Sunday, employees are given Monday off. If two holidays happen to fall on the same date, the president can declare any other day that year a public holiday.
- Benefits: Employees are entitled to six days per year of leave to care for a child younger than seven years old. Female employees who have worked for their employer for three months are entitled to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave. The first eight weeks of leave are paid by the employer and the remaining eight weeks are paid by the government—a benefit capped at $10,000 USD per month. Adoptive mothers of children under 12 months are also entitled to paid leave for 12 weeks. The first four weeks of leave are paid by the employer and the remaining eight weeks are paid by the government.
- Culture: In Singapore, English is the main language—making international business communication easier—but local Singaporeans are known for adding unique phrases to the language, which they call “Singlish.” On a regulatory level, the government of Singapore—or “Gahmen” as the locals call it—is infamously known for keeping the metropolis tidy by strictly enforcing sanitation and general environmental cleanliness.
Whether you’re just beginning to explore growing your workforce in Singapore, or you already have in-country contractors and are looking to expand their roles compliantly, we can help you navigate the employment laws and cultural considerations that come into play.
To date, Safeguard Global has helped 53 companies employ more than 185 people in Singapore. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our global solutions experts.