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How To Hire And Pay Employees In Singapore

Emerald Technology's guide to hiring employees in Singapore


Singapore Dollar is the official currency of Singapore. Its currency symbol is S$, SGD.

Employer Costs
Estimated at 17% of employee's salary
Within 48 hours with Emerald Technology

Singapore's official languages are; Malay, English, Tamil, Mandarin, Chinese and Singaporean Mandarin

The population of Singapore is 5.454 million (based on World Bank numbers as of 2021).

Salaries are paid monthly and it is common for employers to pay an end of year bonus.



To start growing your team in the Singapore, you must establish a local entity- including an account with a local bank, a local office and an address registered as a subsidiary. This allows you to manage payroll, tax, benefits and compliance for your employees, but can take several months. 

Emerald can hire and payroll your workers, quickly and compliantly with their ready to go entity. Make growing your team simple with Emerald as a global partner.


Singapore currently ranks second in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index as a result of its investment-oriented business environment and its strong and stable economy. The government is focused on supporting start-ups and small businesses, with several grants and incentives specifically designated to this category. Corporate tax for all businesses also remains lower than neighbouring countries, at 17%. Despite its relatively small population, Singapore’s talent pool is diverse and productive.

However, Singapore has one of the highest costs of living in Southeast Asia and, as a result can generate high costs for businesses. As well as this, the myriad of government schemes to help businesses can be inefficient, as assistance offered is primarily monetary and the sheer number of schemes can make it difficult to receive the appropriate aid.


Despite the high cost of living, Singapore provides a good location for remote working due to its proximity to other ASEAN countries. For instance, Kuala Lumpur is reachable by an hour’s plane journey, which unlocks the opportunity for further travel for digital nomads. In addition to this, Singapore maintains advanced yet accessible technology which is beneficial for those working remotely. More specifically, across Singapore there is a free public Wi-Fi service available in all public buildings, such as malls and train stations.


Employer Costs

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) is Singapore's national pension scheme. Contributions are payable to Singapore citizens and permanent residents only, aged 55 years and below. Employers contribute 17% respectively, of ordinary monthly wages, up to an income ceiling of SGD 6,000.


Mandatory Benefits

Employers in Singapore are required to offer the following benefits to all full-time employees.

  • Pension Fund
  • Public Health Insurance
  • Skill Development Levy



Some employers like to offer additional benefits to improve employee retention and satisfaction.



All employers are required to issue key employment terms (KETs) in writing, as well as itemised payslips, to employees who will be employed for a continuous period of 14 days or more. KETs should be provided within 14 days from the start of employment and may be in soft or hard copy. Other than as set out above, there are no legal requirements for employers to have employment contracts in writing with employees, and there are no formalities that need to be complied with, although written contracts are recommended.

Emerald Technology requires the following information to create a contract in Singapore:

  • Name of employee
  • Identification Card
  • Address
  • Start date
  • Job title
  • Salary details
  • Annual Leave
  • Job Description
  • Line manager contact details
  • Benefits + stock options

Emerald Technology can provide a compliant contract in Singapore within 24 hours.

Probation Period

Though not legally stipulated, the standard probation (or assessment) period in Singapore ranges between three and six months, serving as an opportunity to gauge the performance level of the new employee.



Providing medical insurance is not a requirement for employing Singapore citizens or Employment Pass (EP) holders; however, employee health insurance is a common inclusion in most, if not all, benefits and compensation packages offered by companies in Singapore.


Social Security

Employees contribute 20% of their monthly salary into the Central Provident Fund (CPF), in addition to a 17% contribution from their employer, up to an income ceiling of SGD 6,000. Reduced rates apply for employees who are earning less than SGD 750 per month, as well as for those above 55 years of age, although these rates are being gradually increased.

The Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) is a voluntary scheme to encourage employees and the self-employed to save for retirement over and above their CPF savings. The maximum amount to be contributed is subject to an income cap of SGD 102,000. Employers are allowed to contribute to their employees’ SRS accounts, subject to contribution limits of 15% for Singapore citizens or permanent residents and 35% for foreign citizens. Employees will be taxed on these employer contributions, but are entitled to corresponding tax relief.

Leave Policy

Maternity Leave

If a mother's child is a Singapore citizen, a pregnant employee is entitled to 16 weeks of government-paid maternity leave. If their child is not a Singapore citizen, the employee is entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave (provided she is covered by the Employment Act). In the latter case, only the first 8 weeks of maternity leave are paid by the government.


Paternity Leave

All working fathers are eligible for two weeks of paid paternity leave, as long as they have been married to a Singapore citizen between conception and birth, and the baby is a Singapore citizen.



Sickness Leave

Employees are generally entitled to sick leave if:

  • They have completed at least three months’ continuous service
  • They have informed their employer within 48 hours of their absence
  • Their sick leave is certified by the company’s doctor, a company-approved doctor, or a government doctor

The number of days of paid sick leave is dependent on length of service. Employees who have worked for at least six months are eligible for 14 days of outpatient, non-hospitalisation leave and 60 days of hospitalisation leave, which includes the 14 days of outpatient leave.


As the legal employer, Emerald Technology requires the information detailed in the employment contract to compliantly onboard an employee in Singapore.

Emerald Technology can onboard employees in Singapore within 48 hours

Resignation and Dismissal

In the event of resignation, if the employment contract specifies a notice period, the employee must either serve the notice or pay compensation in lieu of notice. Notice can be waived by mutual consent of the employer and employee. If the employment contract does not specify the notice period, it is based on length of service as follows:

  • Less than 26 weeks’ employment: 1 day’s notice
  • 26 weeks to 2 years’ employment: 1 week’s notice
  • 2-5 years’ employment: 2 weeks’ notice
  • 5+ years’ employment: 4 weeks’ notice

In the event of redundancy, it is common practice for employers to pay between 2 weeks' and one month's salary per year of service as a severance payment. Employees with less three years’ service in a company are not entitled to retrenchment benefits under the Employment Act.



Restrictive Covenants

Covenants in restraint of trade, such as non-competes and non-solicits, are usually null and void in Singapore. They are only considered enforceable if they can be shown to be reasonable, such as by proving that they are required to protect the legitimate proprietary interests of the employer, and go no further than is reasonably necessary to protect those interests (especially in terms of duration, scope and geographic coverage). The courts have recognised three legitimate proprietary interests thus far: an employer's trade secrets and confidential information, the protection of trade connections, and the maintenance of a stable trained workforce.

Statutory Time Off

Annual Leave

The legal requirement for annual leave is a minimum of seven days; however, it is common practice in Singapore to grant employees a minimum of 14 days of annual leave. An additional one day of annual leave will be granted for each full year of service.


Public Holidays

There are 11 public holidays:

  • New Year's Day
  • Chinese New Year
  • Good Friday
  • Labour Day
  • Hari Raya Puasa
  • Vesak Day
  • Hair Raya Haji
  • National Day
  • Deepavali
  • Christmas Day 


Work, Pay & Taxes

Minimum Wage

Singapore has no minimum wage laws or regulations, apart from for cleaners and security guards.


Working Time and Overtime

Working hours in Singapore should not exceed 44 per week. Employees who work five or fewer days per week should not work more than nine hours per day. Those who work five or more days per week should not work more than eight hours per day. Overtime is payable to:

  • Non-workmen earning up to $2,600.
  • Workmen earning up to $4,500

The overtime rate payable for non-workmen is capped at the salary level of $2,600, or an hourly rate of $13.60. Employers must pay at least 1.5x their employee’s normal hourly basic salary for overtime and payment must be made within 14 days of the last day of the salary period.


Salary Payments

The payroll cycle in Singapore is generally monthly, with wages paid before the last working day of each month. It is common for employees to receive an end of year bonus, which - in good economic times - could be two or three times their monthly salary.


Income Tax

Net Taxable Income 

Rate on Excess

0 - 30,000 2%
30,000 - 40,000 3.5%
40,000 - 80,000 7%
80,000 - 120,000 11.5%
120,000 - 160,000 15%
160,000 - 200,000 18%
200,00 - 240,000 19%
240,000 - 280,000 19.5%
280,000 - 320,000 20%
320,000+ 22%


Similar to other countries, Singapore has strict rules on classifying individual contractors and full-time employees differently. Misclassifying your workers can put your business at risk of fines.


Start a conversation on how we can assist you to grow your remote team.