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Overview of Singapore

Singapore is a one of three surviving city states in the world. It is not just one island, but 64. It is located south of Malaysia and is a global finance centre with a multicultural population of 5.63 million on just 724.4 square kilometre. This makes it the third most densely populated country on Earth. The 4 official languages are: English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. Singlish is the colourful slang of Singaporean and is an integral part of everyday life. Singapore has a military conscription for men over 18 for 1-2 years. It has topped the ease of doing business with list for 10 consecutive years since 2006. Singapore ranks in the top 10 most expensive cities in the world but every one in 6 people in Singapore have assets worth more than $1 million.

Singapore is a modern society with numerous different cultures. In business society, the western smart-casual attire is widely used. Always be punctual to a meeting in Singapore. It is considered disrespectful to be late. Building trust is an important aspect of business in Singapore and so social dinners are common but don’t be surprised if business isn’t discussed at them at all.

Currency of Singapore

  • Singapore Dollar

Health Insurance and the Social Security system of Singapore

In Singapore, the social security system is called the Central Provident Fund (CPF). Only a permanent resident of Singapore can participate in this. Monthly contributions are required by employees and employers. The CPF System covers retirement, healthcare, home ownership, family protection, and asset enhancement.

Singaporeans do not receive free healthcare. There is a user fee imposed on all services to prevent over-use. The government however subsidizes the medical costs by 50% to 80%. Singaporeans then use their so-called Medishield or Medisave accounts to pay the costs. Medisave is used for routine care and consumes about 7% to 9.5% of a workers wage each month. Medishield is used for bigger medical expenses. The Singaporean healthcare system frequently ranks amoung the best of the world.

Employer cost of Singapore

The cost for an employer to hire someone in Singapore is a plus of 17.00% to the gross salary.

Salary and bonuses of Singapore

Regular employees are paid monthly.

Commissions, incentives, and bonuses are variable and will be agreed upon directly with the employer.

Public Holidays in Singapore

If a public holiday falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, the following Monday is declared the public holiday.

  • January 1st – New Years Day
  • January/February – Chinese New Year
  • March/April – Good Friday
  • May 1st – Labour Day
  • May/June – Vesak Day
  • August 9th – National Day
  • October/November – Deepavali
  • 1st Shawwal – Hari Raya Aidilfitri
  • 10th Dhu al-Hijjah – Hari Raya Aidiladha
  • December 25th – Christmas

Working Hours in Singapore

Office hours are from 9:0am to 1:00pm and from 2:00pm to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday. There is often a half day on Saturday from 9:00am to 1:00pm.

A regular work week is 44 hours.

Overtime must be paid with at least 150% of the hourly rate. An employee may not work more than 72 hours of overtime in a month.

Vacation in Singapore

In Singapore an employee is entitled to a minimum of 7 paid days off. This may rise to 14 days, depending on how long the person has been employed.

Sick Leave in Singapore

When one falls sick in Singapore, one has to get a medical certificate (MC) from a doctor and let the employer know within 48 hours of falling sick.

If an employee has been with the company for 6 months or longer, he/she receives full entitlement. If the employee has been with the company between 3 and 6 months, the sick leave will be pro-rated.

Employees receive 14 days of paid sick leave and 60 days of paid hospitalization leave. The 14 sick days are included in the 60 hospitalization days.

Termination/Severance in Singapore

When terminating an employee in Singapore, this has to be done by giving notice. Reasons for terminating an employee can be due to misconduct, poor performance or economical reasons etc.

A termination must be done in writing and the notice period must be included. If the notice period has not been otherwise agreed upon in the original employment contract, the following stands:

  • being employed for less than 2 weeks: 1 day notice

  • being employed for 26 weeks – 2 years: 1 week notice

  • being employed for 2-5 years: 2 weeks notice

  • being employed for longer than 5 years: 4 weeks notice period

Employees who have been with the company for longer than 2 years are entitled to severance pay. There is no statutory severance pay but the norm is to pay between 2 weeks and 1 months salary as severance pay for each year’s service.