Labour and employment—Singapore—Q&A guide

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Labour and employment—Singapore—Q&A guide
  • 1. What are the main statutes and regulations relating to employment?
  • 2. Is there any law prohibiting discrimination or harassment in employment? If so, what categories are regulated under the law?
  • 3. What are the primary government agencies or other entities responsible for the enforcement of employment statutes and regulations?
  • 4. Is there any legislation mandating or allowing the establishment of employees’ representatives in the workplace?
  • 5. What are their powers?
  • 6. Are there any restrictions or prohibitions against background checks on applicants? Does it make a difference if an employer conducts its own checks or hires a third party?
  • 7. Are there any restrictions or prohibitions against requiring a medical examination as a condition of employment?
  • 8. Are there any restrictions or prohibitions against drug and alcohol testing of applicants?
  • 9. Are there any legal requirements to give preference in hiring to, or not to discriminate against, particular people or groups of people?
  • More...

Labour and employment—Singapore—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to labour and employment in Singapore published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: April 2020).

Authors: TSMP Law Corporation—Ian Lim; Nicholas Ngo; Elizabeth Tan

1. What are the main statutes and regulations relating to employment?

The Employment Act (EA) governs all employees apart from Singapore government (or statutory board) employees, seafarers and domestic workers. This is a major change from the previous position before 1 April 2019, where professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) earning over S$4,500 in basic monthly salary were not covered by the EA. The EA’s core provisions provide for matters such as recourse for wrongful dismissal, and also cover employees’ rights to timely payment of salary, notice periods, public holidays and annual and sick leave entitlements, among other things.

Part IV of the EA, which provides additional protection (such as mandatory rest days, overtime pay and maximum hours of work) applies only to:

  1. workers (manual labour employees) earning up to S$4,500 in basic monthly salary; and

  2. other employees (other than workers and PMEs) earning a maximum of S$2,600 in basic monthly salary (an increase from the previous limit of S$2,500 in place before 1 April 2019).

To be clear, PMEs are not covered by Part IV of the EA. 

Apart from the EA, other statutes govern specific

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