1. Minimum working conditions
Singapore generally adopts a national, strategic and long term approach to achieve sustainable, continuous improvement in workplace safety and health conditions.
The Ministry of Manpower emphasizes the need in instilling a culture of safety and health in all workplaces, and has always reinforced the message that poor safety management could lead to costly losses. It is clear as well that those who create workplace safety and health risks will be held accountable.
The Act provides that minimum rates of salaries for children or young persons engaged in particular industries or work may be prescribed. However, to date no minimum rate is in force.
3. Maximum working week
Part IV of the Act generally provides that no Part IV EA Employee is required to work for more than eight hours in a day or for more than 44 hours in one week. Further, Part IV EA Employees are allowed one rest day per week, although in the case of a shift worker a continuous period of 30 hours may be substituted for a rest day.
For employees who are not Part IV EA Employees, matters such as rest days and hours of work will depend on contractual provisions found in their contracts of employment.
(a) Part IV EA Employees
Overtime allowance is payable if the Part IV EA Employee is required by the employer to work above the limit of working hours specified above.
All work in excess of the normal hours of work (excluding break time) is considered as overtime work. A Part IV EA Employee must be paid no less than 1.5 times his/her hourly basic rate of pay for overtime. Payment for overtime work must be made within 14 days after the last day of the salary period.
The hourly basic rate of pay for overtime is calculated by reference to prescribed formulae depending on whether the Part IV EA Employee is monthly-rated, daily-rated or piece-rated.
(b) Employees who are not Part IV EA Employees
In relation to employees who are not Part IV EA Employees, any overtime payments will depend on contractual provisions found in their contracts of employment.
Annual leave – Part IV of the Act provides that a Part IV EA Employee who has served his employer for not less than 3 months will be entitled to paid annual leave of 7 days in respect of the first year of continuous service with the same employer, and one additional day for every subsequent year with the same employer subject to a maximum of 14 days.
For Non-EA Employees, annual leave will depend on contractual provisions found in their contracts of employment.
Sick leave – The Act provides for a graduated scale of sick leave depending on the service period of the EA Employee with the employer but generally an EA Employee who has served for a period of not less than 6 months with a particular employer shall be entitled to paid sick leave not exceeding 14 days each year (if no hospitalization is necessary) or up to 60 days a year (if hospitalization is necessary).
For Non-EA Employees, sick leave will depend on contractual provisions found in their contracts of employment. It is, however, customary for them to be entitled to similar sick leave benefits as that of EA Employees.
Under the Constitution of Singapore, discrimination against Singaporean citizens on grounds of religion, race, descent or place of birth, appointment to any office or employment under a public authority, or in the administration of any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment, is prohibited. However, discrimination on the basis of sex, age, disability or sexual orientation is not included in this general prohibition. There is a tripartite alliance for fair employment practices which promotes non-discrimination in the workplace. However, these practices are just guidelines and are not legally enforceable.
Whilst the rights of foreign citizens/ expatriates are not protected by statute, discrimination against such individuals can be argued as contrary to public policy. However, these types of cases are not commonly reported in Singapore.