All You Need To Know About Employee Benefits In Singapore: Annual Leave, Off-in-lieu, Hospitalisation Leave, etc.
Being aware of the benefits that you are entitled to as an employee is important. This is so that the next time your boss short changes you, you will be able to know of the employee benefits that you are entitled to.
This is important, especially for fresh graduates who are just starting out their career.
You can then shove this article in front of your boss’ face and threaten to complain to MOM.
Just kidding, don’t.
You’ll probably lose your job in the process. Only do it when it gets really out of hand.
TLRD: Employee Benefits In Singapore That I Am Entitled To
- Are a Singapore citizen
- Have been in your company for a minimum of three months
You will be entitled to:
|Number Of Days (According To MOM)||Number Of Days (According To Some Companies)||Are You Able To Bring Them Forward?|
|Adoption Leave||12 Weeks||12 Weeks||No|
|Annual Leave||7 (To start with)||14 - 21||Yes|
|Maternity Leave||12 - 16 Weeks||12 Weeks||No|
|Off-in-lieu||1-to-1||2 days off for working on Public Holiday||No|
|Paternity Leave||2 weeks||2 weeks||No|
|Child Care Leave||Maximum of 6||Maximum of 6||No|
|Compassionate Leave||0||Maximum of 5||No|
|Elder Care Leave||0||Maximum of 6||No|
|Marriage Leave||0||Maximum of 5||No|
|Sabbaticals||0||6 months / 1 year||No|
Important Tips For Those Just Starting Out Their Career
The most important tip, if you’re just starting your career, is to know your rights. So:
- Read your contract before signing it.
- Read the fine print too.
- Make sure you understand everything in it.
- If there’s something you don’t understand, ask for legal counsel.
- Keep a copy of your contract and consult it each time you have a question or an issue.
- You should always ask for a written contract, and not just a verbal one.
- If you’re not senior management, you might not be able to negotiate your contract.
What Should Be Made Known In An Employment Contract?
After all that talk about contracts, here’s what you have to know before signing your life away on that piece of paper.
You can come across the Employment Contract under different names, such as:
- Appointment Letter
- Employment Agreement
- Offer Letter
This contract is drawn between you and your employer. It’s purpose is to define all the terms and conditions of your employment. It also states the employee benefits that you are entitled to.
If you or your employer violates the terms of employment, you’re making a breach of contract. That means you can be subjected to disciplinary action, or ask for compensation if you’re the wronged party.
The main clauses in your contract refer to:
- Contract duration
- The beginning date of your employment
- Code of conduct
It’s essential to know that the employee benefits written in the employment contract should respect the Employment Act conditions. For instance, you’re entitled to at least 7 days annual leave, so your employer can’t offer you just 5.
The Employment Act Of Singapore
As Singapore’s main labour law, the Employment Act will provide you with basic terms and working conditions for all employees – with a few exceptions.
These exceptions include:
- Domestic workers
- Government staff
The latest update as of 1 April 2019 includes important changes. All workers are now covered, provided they’re defined as “employees” under the Employment Act.
Managers and executives drawing a basic salary of above $4,500/month will be covered by the Employment Act.
With this update, all employees in Singapore (excluding the aforementioned exceptions) will be entitled to:
- Minimum days of annual leave
- Paid public holidays and sick leave
- Timely payment of salary
- Statutory protection against wrongful dismissal
Non-workmen earning up to $2,600 month will have further protection and benefits such as:
- Hours of work
- Overtime pay
- Rest days
To summarise, the latest Employment Act update brings about the following benefits:
- Better protection for employees
- Greater business flexibility
- More efficient business dispute resolution
What Are the Statutory and Common Employment Practices That I Am Entitled To?
If you are an exployee under the following categories:
here are some of the employment benefits that you should receive.
1. Salary & Bonus
There isn’t a minimum salary stipulated in the Employment Act, so you will have to negotiate this with your employer. There are also no requirements for paying the bonuses.
The Employment Act states that your employer must pay:
- Your salary at least once each month, during the salary period or within 7 days after that.
- Your overtime pay, during the salary period or within 14 days afterward.
Most companies in Singapore have an annual bonus. This bonus:
- Is a common practice, but it’s not regulated by the Employment Act.
- Depends on your performance and how well the company is doing.
- Can reach up to double or triple your regular monthly salary in a favorable economy.
2. Hours Of Work & Overtime
If you are covered under the Employment Act, this should be your contractual working hours:
|If You Work||Contractual Hours Of Work|
|5 days or less a week||Up to 9 hours per day or 44 hours a week|
|More than 5 days a week||Up to 8 hours a day or 44 hours a week|
The only circumstances when your employer is legally allowed to ask you to work overtime include:
- An accident or threat of accident
- Work that is essential to the life of the community, national defense or security
- Interrupted work due to unforeseen situations
- Urgent work to be conducted on a machinery or plant
Do note that you are not allowed to work more than 12 hours in a day.
As an employee, you can only work up to 72 hours of overtime in a month.
That said, the employment act allows employers to apply for an exemption should they require their employees to work more than 72 hours of overtime in a month.
3. Public Holidays
As a multiracial country, we have a diverse array of ethnic holidays. You are entitled to 11 paid public holidays in a year.
The 11 gazetted public holidays for 2020 are:
- Chinese New Year – First Day (25 Jan)
- Chinese New Year – Second Day (26 Jan)
- Good Friday (10 Apr)
- Labour Day (1 May)
- Vesak Day (7 May)
- Hari Raya Puasa (24 May)
- Hari Raya Haji (31 July)
- National Day (9 Aug)
- Deepavali (14 Nov)
- Christmas Day (25 Dec)
If the holiday falls on a rest day (Saturday, Sunday), the next working day will be a paid holiday.
Sometimes, you might be required to work on a public holiday. If you do so, your employer can either pay you an extra day of basic salary, or grant you with an off-in-lieu.
4. Annual Leave
The number of days of annual leave you get in a year will probably be one of the first things you look at before signing the employment contract.
As a rule of thumb, your employer is supposed to grant you with at least seven days of annual leave.
Huh, so little ah? Can’t even go on a proper long holiday like that.
Thankfully, most employers in Singapore provide their employees with at least 14 days of annual leave.
5. Sick Leave (Outpatient)
You are elligible for 14 days of annual paid sick leave.
However, you will need to have informed or tried to inform your employer within 48 hours of your absence.
On top of this, you also have to be certified that you are unfit for work by a registered doctor or dentist. This is usually in the form of a medical certificate (MC).
6. Hospitalisation Leave
The number of sick leave (outpatient) + hospitalisation leave you are entitled to in a year is capped at 60 days.
This means that if you have already maxed out your 14 days of sick leave (outpatient), you will only have 56 days of hospitalisation leave left.
To qualify for paid hospitalisation leave, you’ll have to be:
- Warded in a hospital as an in-patient or for day surgery
- Quarantined under any written law
- Certified by a medical practitioner who can admit patients into an approved hospital, including medical practitioners from national specialty centres and ambulatory surgical centres
7. Health Insurance
There are no statutory requirement for this in the Employment Act. Nonetheless, Singaporean citizens and permanent residents are covered by Medishield.
This is a basic, low-cost medical insurance that’s part of your CPF retirement fund.
As such, health insurance depends on your employer. The majority of large companies will have private medical insurance, but smaller companies may not.
8. Maternity Leave
All working mothers will be entitled to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave if you have:
- A Singapore citizen child
- Served your employer for at least 3 months before the birth of your child
- Been engaged in your work for at least 3 continuous months and have lost income during the maternity period (for self-employed)
- Provided your employer with at least 1 week’s notice before going on maternity leave
If your child is not a Singapore citizen, you will be elligible for 12 weeks of paid maternity leave.
9. Childcare Leave
Most smaller companies do not provide childcare leave.
However, if they do, each working parent is entitled to six days of annual childcare leave till your child turns 7 years old.
If your child is a non Singapore citizen, the childcare leave will be capped at 2 days per year for each working parent.
10. Probation Period
This is the period where you’ll have to be on your best behaviour.
Getting bubble tea for the entire office, shredding paper, taking out the mail.
Whatever it is, just do.
While the Employment Act doesn’t regulate the probation period, most employers will ask you for a 3-6 months’ probation.
11. Employment Termination
For better or worse, we’ll find ourselves moving to greener pastures.
Whether it’s a better job opportunity, or that you
had it with your boss, or that your boss has had it with you, here’s what you have to know.
Either the employee or the employer can terminate a contract of service. A termination may occur when:
- You resign
- Your employer dismisses you
- The contract term expires
The Employment Act doesn’t regulate the notice period before terminating your employment. However, you’ll have to abide by the one provided in the contract.
As a common practice, this notice period is between 2 – 4 weeks.
However, in the case of a willful breach of contract, the notice period is not mandatory.
12. CPF Contributions
Hate the fact that the government forces us to save 20% of our salary each month?
Sadly, we can’t do much about it.
CPF is the obligatory retirement savings scheme in Singapore. This is for both citizens and permanent residents.
However, foreign employers with an Employment Pass or Work Permit don’t have any CPF contribution.
Your employer is legally obligated to make monthly payments to your CPF fund. These payments consist of both your contributions and your employer’s.
Your contribution is subtracted from your monthly salary. That said, this cannot be more than 20% of your monthly salary. Your employer’s maximum allowed contribution is 16% of your salary.
This contribution should be paid on a monthly basis until the 14th of next month.
13. Education & Training
This is not regulated by the Employment Act. However, MOM encourages employers to allow these opportunities.
As such, the Singaporean government offers a variety of grants that partially cover the cost for training and development.
Companies that make a nice profit and require competent, competitive employees, will generally offer training opportunities.
What Are The Non-Statutory And Common Employee Benefits?
The majority of Singaporean companies offer non-statutory employee benefits meaning non-regulated benefits. Their purpose is to ensure the employees are well taken care of:
- Comprehensive medical insurance plans
- Per Diem allowance for transportation or expenses during your work-related travels
- Relocation packages if you’re moving with your family from another country. (Paid transportation, free or partially paid housing, utility bills, childcare, school fees). These payments vary according to your contract terms
- Stock purchase plans for senior employees, by which you can buy into your company’s stock at a discounted price
- Paid corporate membership
- Educational courses
- Mobile phone plans
- Restaurant or gym memberships
- Paid teambuilding
What Can You Do If Your Employer Doesn’t Respect These Statutory Practices?
Start by trying to resolve the dispute with your employer or the HR department first.
If you are unable to reach a consensus, you can report an Employment Act violation with issues arising from:
- Annual & sick leave
- Public holiday entitlement
- Hours of work, overtime, and rest days
Before filing a report, you will require certain personal particulars and supporting documents as follows:
- A valid SingPass
- Details of your employer, e.g. company name, Unique Entity Number (UEN)
- Your personal particulars, e.g. address, NRIC, contact number.
- Your employment details, e.g. start and end date of employment, occupation, salary.
- Employment contract
- CPF statement or bank statement
- Resignation or termination letter
- Timesheets or punch card
- Medical certificate or medical bill
If all else fails, you can also reach them directly at:
- Hotline: 1800 221 9922 (Monday – Friday: 8:30am – 5:30pm)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your employer won’t find out your identity. An investigation will take place and legal measures will follow. This is provided that you have all the necessary documentation.
It’s important as an employee, to know the employee benefits. This is to ensure that you remain protected not get short-changed!