HR Consultancy Services in Singapore

IRIS HR Consulting has experience helping businesses grow in Singapore. Without expert guidance, it can otherwise be risky and costly to leave local laws and legislation open to interpretation. For a scalable, compliant operation, IRIS can manage your HR in Singapore to help businesses hire, recruit, and pay staff overseas in new, unfamiliar countries. As a popular destination for businesses, IRIS can navigate local barriers – from culture to compliance – to arrive at a rewarding opportunity for your business to thrive in this exciting marketplace.

Take your business to Singapore with the help of our specialist HR consultants at IRIS.

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    Global Expansion in Singapore

    Doing Business in Singapore is Easy – According to the World Bank

    Like many aspiring markets, Singapore benefits from a strategic geographical location, positioned on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, which rests on an advantageous trading route (between India and China). This economically viable and robust city-state has not only flourished as a result of its uniquely strategic geography, but also through its strong infrastructure, a productive workforce, and a highly developed financial market.

    Overall, Singapore’s free market economy, which is primarily based on trade, finance, and manufacturing, is boosted by an attractive tax regime, a stable (and corruption free government), and a healthy climate for businesses and start-ups.

    Frequently ranked in the top three of countries where it’s easiest to establish a business, Singapore is renowned for strategically advancing businesses into foreign markets. Many critics have suggested, favourably, that Singapore is so commercial attractive because of its open markets, its labour availability (including relaxed immigration policies), strong tax jurisdiction, and a conducive pro-business climate.

    Is it ever “easy” doing business?

    The freedom of doing business poll, according the World Bank, is reflected in governmental policy (including regulation), attitude, and the readiness of a business climate. A detail-rich report, Singapore ranks comfortably in second as an ideal setting for business operations, both for start-ups, or for those looking at international expansions.

    From the foundations, to operational efficiencies, and the supporting or ancillary commercial setting, this high-ranking position for Singapore tends to attract key business relations.

    A Guide to Employing Staff in Singapore

    Everything you need to know about the employment laws and compliance requirements in this country


    Establishing your Business in Singapore     

    Embarking on a global expansion is a strategic move to gain extra value from exciting foreign markets, which are constantly evolving and full of opportunity. But the international stage isn’t always easy to navigate.

    Yet, before establishing your operation in Singapore, you must ensure compliance with employment law.

    Although, one of its major attractions, Singapore business is quick, relatively easy, and free from the slowdowns of red tape.

    The basic company registration requirements in Singapore are as follows:

    • A minimum of one shareholder (local or foreign)
    • A minimum paid-up capital of S$1
    • Must have a Singapore-resident director
    • A company secretary residing in Singapore
    • A registered address (in Singapore)
    • A name approved by ACRA/ Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority


    Employment Laws in Singapore  

    When first expanding your business into Singapore, navigating local laws, legislation and rules of employment is no mean feat, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the country’s driving policies like its stance on environmental impact. Throughout Asia, these laws are almost never universal. Rather, employment is dynamic and reflects the countries social, economic and cultural opportunities.

    Did you know?

    Employees earning less than SGD 2,000 a month are provided additional protection (concerning “Rest Day, Hours of Work and Overtime, Public Holidays, Annual Leave, Sick Leave, Retrenchment Benefits, Retirement Benefits, Annual Wage Supplement and other variable payment”) under Part IV of the Employment Act.

    Hiring & Recruitment in Singapore  

    When getting your first hire overseas, you will need to negotiate terms of employment. But that requires local knowledge, strict compliance, and an understanding of what to include in an offer.

    The Singapore Employment Act regulates employment activity for a business – from terms and conditions of employment, down to rights, duties, and responsibilities of employers and employees.

    Business should expect tight compliance with the Singapore Employment Act.

    Work Passes in Singapore

    Work visas in Singapore are known as ‘passes’. To work in Singapore, every professional must obtain a work pass to take up employment in this country.  The type of work passes that will most likely affect your workforce include:

    • Passes for professionals
    • Passes for skilled (and semi-skilled) workers

    For employers recruiting professionals to work in Singapore, they will need to consider which visa or pass best applies to their workforce.

    Employment Rights & Contracts in Singapore

    The relationships captured in employment are regulated primarily by an employment contract. Broadly, parties have remarkable freedoms to draft contracts, so long as they comply with the Singapore Employment Act.

    Yet, certain “employees” are exempt from this Act, including:

    • Managerial or Executive Positions (or an authority figure)
    • Domestics
    • Seamen/ Naval
    • Government workers

    An employment contract may be referenced as a ‘Employment Agreement’/ ‘Employment Letter’/ ‘Offer Letter’. Most roles, barring seniority, should be contained within a written contract, which is mostly unnegotiable.

    The contents of a contract should include:

    • Date, or appointment, of role
    • Duration of contract
    • Date when employment starts
    • Renumeration
    • Hours
    • Any benefits
    • Any probationary period
    • Codes of conduct/ expected behaviour
    • Termination

    What are the Working Hours in Singapore?

    Commonly, employment is set at 44 hours a week and no more than 9 hours a day over 5 working days or less per week or 8 hours a day over more than 5 working days per week.

    Equal Opportunities in Singapore

    Equality is constitutionally guarded in Singapore. The culture and markets in Singapore reflect  this open-mindedness.

    Probationary Periods in Singapore

    In Singapore, it’s typical for employees to commence a new role on a probationary period, which usually runs between 3-6 months. Upon the successful completion of this period, employees are appointed as permanent staff.

    Overtime in Singapore

    According to Singaporean policy, if your employees are covered under Part IV of the Employment Act, they become entitled to overtime. Any time completed over the normal working hours, or in excess therefor, are considered overtime.

    You can access overtime if you either:

    • A non-workman with a salary of $2,600
    • A working employee with a salary of $4,500

    Normally, overtime is capped at a rate for non-workmen. It is also calculated at 1.5x the hourly basic rate.

    Public Holidays in Singapore

    Singapore has 10 public holidays:

    • New Year’s Day
    • Chinese New Year (2 days)
    • Good Friday
    • Labour Day
    • Vesak Day
    • Hari Raya Puasa
    • National Day
    • Hari Raya Haji
    • Deepavali
    • Christmas Day

    Additional or Bonus Pay in Singapore

    Locally, any supplemental pay is known as “variable wage components” (formal), or AWS (annual wage supplements, which can also be referred to as “13th month payments”. This is because it’s usually a single annual payment, delivered as a top-up on the employee’s wages at the end of the year.

    Vacation in Singapore

    Employees must have at least 3 months’ service before they acquire the right to vacation. Where the provisions apply, then an employee’s vacation entitlement begins with 7 days in the first year of service, increasing by 1 day for every additional year of service.

    Sick Leave in Singapore

    Employees are entitled to sick leave if they meet the following criteria:

    • Have worked for more than three-months
    • Have informed the employer within 48hrs
    • The sick leave is certified by a doctor

    Sick leave, overall, is determined by length of service. Employees with (at least) six months employment are entitled to 14 days of outpatient, or non-hospitalisation leave, and a further 60 days of hospitalisation leave (encapsulating the 14 days for outpatient leave).

    Any employees with less than six months service will need to consult the company, or an expert, for directions on sick leave.

    Maternity Leave in Singapore

    Maternity law in Singapore is eligible to citizens (allowing for 16 weeks of leave) and non-citizens (for up to 12 weeks).

    Typically, during maternity leave, the employer pays for 8 weeks of leave, and the government covers the sequential 8 weeks thereafter.

    Retirement & Pensions in Singapore

    As Singapore is an affluent state, it is able to finance its social security system with a mandatory, publicly managed contributory system. This is mainly captured by the Central Provident Fund (CPF). The two major schemes include: non-contributory pensions for government employees or provident funded schemes (sometimes the Savings and Employees Scheme).

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    End of Service

    HR in Singapore requires compliance not only during an employee’s service, but also at the end of it. End of service might include severance, termination, redundancy, and leaving packages. Or, for globally mobile companies with teams in foreign markets, this could be repatriation services for those returning from an assignment overseas.

    For these more complicated matters, you will need expert HR guidance to navigate Singaporean labor laws and remain compliant.

    Termination (including Severance) in Singapore

    A probationary period is typically captured in an employment contract, which runs 3-6 months (during which time it’s a shorter notice period) – although, this is not a statutory requirement.

    Normally, one-month is the agreeable length for termination.

    When it’s not captured in a contract, the following applies:

    • For less than 26 weeks, the notice period is 1 day.
    • For 26 weeks (albeit less than 2 years), the notice is 2 weeks.
    • For 2 years (but less than 5 years), the notice becomes 2 weeks.
    • For 5 years or beyond, the notice is 4 weeks.

    Benefits of Working in Singapore

    Private Medical Insurance

    Foreigners working in Singapore are exempt from CPF contributions and this means that they do not have access to the government’s subsidised health insurance schemes. These plans typically provide assistance for both in and out-patient treatment and can include dental care. Smaller employers might expect employees to secure their own cover and then reimburse them for any premiums paid but the general trend is towards the establishment of an insurance policy.

    Social Security and Mandatory Provisions

    Social Security – The public benefit system in Singapore can be classified into 3 main groups:

    • Central Provident Fund (CPF)
    • Work Injury Compensation Act
    • Public Assistance Scheme (PAS)

    Workers Compensation

    Employers are legally obliged to secure Work Injury Insurance for all manual workers and those employees earning less than S$1,600 per month. However, it is both recommended and commonplace for employers to source private insurance which covers all employees earning in excess of the mandatory S$1,600. Policies will often provide additional covers in excess of the statutory minimum.

    Why Partner With IRIS?

    When entering new, exciting countries like Singapore, you will need an employment specialist to navigate the parts of local laws that are mandatory and those that are not. Delivering a compliant solution, IRIS can help your business arrive into new marketplaces whilst protecting your workforce – our partners can discover power and protection through us.

    Overseas expansions can seem risky to those who dare it alone. Understanding the complexity of a fully complaint solution, IRIS can help businesses establish a foreign branch in Singapore without the hassle.

    Our cost-effective, knowledgeable approach to HR in Singpore makes us an ideal partner to commence your overseas plans.