Understanding the Working Hours in Singapore

Understanding the Working Hours in Singapore - Working hours are one of the important aspects of an industry that workers should pay attention to before signing a job contract or for those who want to start a company. As one of the developed countries in Asia that has many industrial sectors, the working hours in Singapore have been regulated very well by the Singapore government under the Employment Act, especially in Part IV of the Employment Act.

By paying attention to the statutory regulation that is related to working hours, the workers could comprehend and figure out the basic daily or weekly duration of work in various Singaporean companies.

Moreover, for the business owner, the regulation helps them to provide their employees’ rights and it will prevent them from committing workplace violations, especially regarding the working hours of their employees. If you still do not know about it yet, do not worry, this article is about to help you to understand the fruitful information about working hours in Singapore.

When we talk about the working hours in Singapore our mind would not go far from the statutory regulation about it in there which is called as Singapore Employment Act. It is a Singapore Labor law arranged by The Ministry of Manpower of Singapore (MOM) that provides the basic working conditions and terms at work for employees.

Even so, in this Act, there are still some exceptions. Those who are covered by the Act are the local or foreign employees who are under a contract of service with an employer. They could be full-time, part-time, temporary, and contract employees who are worked and paid hourly, daily, monthly, or piece-rated by the companies they work for. However, you will not be covered by the Act if you work as a domestic worker, seafarer, civil servant, or statutory board.

As the statutory regulation for covering employees’ rights, Employment Act covers the important subjects that are related to the main topic of this article and the specific common practices related to the rest day, overtime, and indeed working hours that are specifically covered under Part IV of the Employment Act.

In this part of the Act, those who are not covered under it are not only seafarers, civil servants, or statutory board employees, yet they are also managers and executives. According to this Act, both manager and executive positions are categorized as employees who have authoritative and supervisory functions with some roles such as making the company’s policy and strategy, deciding important matters like recruitment or evaluation of employee’s performance, and other common managerial duties.

One of those categories that are covered under the Act is a workman who does manual labor and has a basic monthly salary of not more than S$4,500. The workman or manual labor are individuals who include particular categories such as artisans, employees who operate vehicles that carry passengers, supervisors who conduct manual labor for more than half of their working time, and the other manual labor employees such as cleaners, construction workers, laborer, machine operator, Train, bus, lorry, van driver, etc.

The other category is the employee who is not a workman, yet they are covered by the Act and have a monthly basic salary of not more than S$2,600. Therefore, do not worry if you are the employees who qualify above because you will be covered by the Act and you can avoid the working hours violation from the employer.

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As an employee, you need to understand the normal working hours which are fully implemented in Singapore. It will give you the templated duration when you will start working and when your work is done so that it makes the working time of the employees are more organized.

According to the Employment Act, the working hours in Singapore depend on the contractual working hours that you and your employer have agreed upon in the contract of service. Commonly, in Singapore, for conventional work arrangements, you are expected to work from Monday to Friday eight or nine-hour per day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In a week, the maximum working hours of an employee is 44 hours and usually, the employers end the work of their employees earlier on Friday. Typically, the normal working hours in Singapore itself are between 40 to 44 hours.

The other common arrangements for contractual working hours between the employer and employee are usually based on how many days you work in a week. For 5 days or less than a week, the contractual working hours are up to 9 hours per day or about 44 hours a week. On the other hand, for more than 5 days a week, the contractual working hours would be up to 8 hours a day or 44 hours a week. 

Besides the common arrangements for the employees’ weekly working hours, other work arrangements affect their contractual working hours. In these arrangements, if employees work less than 44 hours every alternate week, their contractual working hours are up to 48 hours a week, yet will be capped at 88 hours in any continuous 2-week period. Meanwhile, if you work in shifts up to 12 hours a day, you will have the contractual working hours up to an average of 44 hours over a continuous 3-week period.

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If we talk about working hours, there must be questions related to the break time and rest days. Hereinafter, in this part, this article will explain the rest days in Singapore. Like working regulations in other countries, in Singapore, you are not required to work more than 6 consecutive hours without a break.

If some companies think that the nature of work needs to be 8 consecutive hours, then they must provide breaks for the meals at least 45 minutes long. In a week, employers must give at least 1 rest day to their employees. One thing you need to know about this rest day is that in one whole day of the rest day, the employee will not get paid. They will only get paid when they work on the normal working days.

On the other hand, if you are a shift worker, the rest day can be a continuous period of 30 hours. The 30 hours rest period starts before 6 pm on a Sunday and can continue on Monday and it is considered one rest day within a week. One thing is for sure, for the rest day the employer can’t force you to work, except it is under exceptional circumstances.

The rest day generally falls on Sunday or any other day in the week to replace that day, thus on the other days outside the rest day, you need to go to work. If the rest day is not Sunday, your employer needs to re-arrange the monthly roaster and also inform you of the rest days before the start of the month.

In Singapore, when the public holidays fall on the non-working day you are entitled to another day off, or as an alternative to those public holidays, you can have one extra day’s salary at the gross rate of pay. Meanwhile, if a public holiday falls on the rest day, the next working day will be a paid public holiday.

Besides the normal working hours for the employees in Singapore, Part IV of the Employment Act also covers the other possibility in common working conditions such as the overtime and also the maximum working hours of the employees. Employers can not compel their employees to work more than 12 hours a day.

They can only ask them to work more than 12 hours a day when there are four exceptions. The first is if you are in an accident or potential accident, the second is if your work is essential to the community, security, or national defense, and the third is if in case of urgent work that needs to be fixed to machinery or plant and the last is if there is unexpected event arising.

If overtime is needed in your company, the employers cannot be reckless against the existing rules. Overtime itself is considered as the time of all the work that surpasses the normal working hours. As regards overtime work, in a month, an employee can only work 72 hours of overtime. Nevertheless, if an employee works on the rest day or public holiday, those days are not counted as a 72-hour overtime limit. However, for the work done beyond the usual daily working hours, those extra hours are still included in the 72-hour overtime limit. 

When your employer demands you to work overtime, take it easy because you still can claim your overtime pay if you are an employee who has the following categories:

  • A laborer who has the earnings up to S$4,500

  • A non-laborer who has the earnings up to S$2,600

    *The payable overtime rate is limited to the salary level of S$2,600 

The employee who takes the overtime reserve the right 1.5 times their basic hourly pay. Furthermore, 14 days after the last day of their salary period, their payment must be completed on time by the employer. The advantage of understanding your working hours.

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Knowing and understanding the working hours is a necessary for you as an employee because it will assist you in the following ways:

  • You can calculate your hourly paying salary period

    By knowing your working hours, you can calculate precisely how much your hourly pay is if you have a fixed salary in a month. You can just split your monthly pay into hours by dividing your working hours over a month. It is important because will able to understand your worth and see how your employer appreciates and appropriately compensate your efforts and contributions to the company.

  • Specify your annual earning

    Besides calculating your hourly pay, another notable fruitful advantage of understanding the working hours is that you can specify your annual or even monthly and weekly earnings especially if you are paid hourly in your job. By doing that, you will have stability for your income because you can have clearer and more specific information to manage your spending and budget.

  • Evaluate your work-life balance

    To be an excellent employee, you need to keep your good performance during work as balanced as possible because working too many hours can affect your health and indeed your productivity. Therefore, by calculating your working hours you can evaluate your working time management to get a balancing work-life. It will assist you to analyze the factors that could maximize your work, so you can arrange the appropriate actions for your schedule such as taking a vacation or spending more time with your family.

  • Manage your social activities

    Working too many hours sometimes makes you have only a little time for your social life. That is why knowing about working hours is very essential because you can have the most effective ways to easily manage your social activities and leisure schedules. You will be able to arrange your spare time for your family time, hang out with friends, do your hobbies, improve yourself by doing personal developments and indeed keep yourself healthy by doing some exercises.

Knowing the concept of working hours in Singapore surely will advantage you in many ways to be a productive employee like in the explanation above. This will give you the understanding that you can have the opportunity to use your spare time effectively and at the same time you can also boost your productivity by managing your working hours properly.

By doing so, you will have a good sense of how your employer entitles your rights in the company, especially about the working hours to avoid the working hours violation from your employee. Furthermore, you can also comprehend the value of time and your basic responsibilities following the working hours in the company you work in.

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