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Gross Salary: A Guide for Employers in Singapore

If you're an employer in Singapore, understanding gross salary is crucial for various aspects of managing your workforce. It's not just about paying your employees; it also affects your compensation planning and employee retention. In this guide, we'll delve into the nuances of gross salary, answer common questions, and provide you with the knowledge you need as a business owner or HR professional!

What is gross salary?

Gross salary, often referred to as gross pay or gross income, is the total amount of money an employee earns before any deductions and taxes are applied, such as employee CPF contributions or personal income tax. It encompasses the basic salary as well as allowances, bonuses, overtime pay, commissions, and other forms of compensation that an employee may receive.

Does gross salary include allowances?

Yes, gross salary typically includes various allowances that an employee might be entitled to. Allowances can take various forms, such as:

  • housing allowances
  • transport allowances
  • meal allowances

These allowances are often provided to employees to help cover specific expenses related to their job or location. Including allowances in the gross salary gives employees a clearer picture of their total compensation package, which can be a significant factor in attracting and retaining talent.

Does gross salary include overtime pay?

Yes, overtime pay is generally included in the calculation of gross salary. Overtime pay is the additional compensation provided to employees who work more than their regular hours.

Overtime pay = Hourly basic rate of pay × 1.5 × Number of hours worked overtime

By including overtime pay in their gross salary, employees can see the full impact of their extra effort on their overall earnings.

Head over to our overtime pay calculator and learn everything you need to know with “The overtime pay guide for employers in Singapore”!

Does gross salary include a CPF contribution?

Yes, gross salary includes an employee's CPF contribution, and it varies depending on the employee's age and wage.

This table summarises the contribution rates for Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents (from the third year and onwards) with monthly wages greater than $750.

Employee’s age (years) By employee (% of wage)
55 and below 20
Above 55 to 60 15
Above 60 to 65 9.5
Above 65 to 70 7
Above 70 5

Keeping up with the changes in regulations can be tough while running a business. Here we have put together a comprehensive CPF guide for employers in Singapore to answer your FAQs regarding CPF contributions as well as keep you posted on the latest CPF contribution rates, CPF wage ceilings, and more!

What’s the difference between gross salary and basic salary?

A common point of confusion is the difference between gross salary and basic salary.

Basic salary is the fixed amount of money an employee receives as their regular pay, excluding any additional benefits or bonuses. On the other hand, gross salary includes not only the basic salary but also all other forms of compensation an employee may receive.

So, while basic salary is a component of gross salary, the latter is a more comprehensive figure that provides a more accurate picture of an employee's total earnings.

Does gross salary mean take-home pay?

No, gross salary does not represent an employee's take-home pay. 

Take-home pay, also known as net salary, is the amount an employee receives after all deductions and taxes have been applied to their gross salary. These deductions may include CPF contributions, contributions to Self-Help Groups, and any other deductions specified in the employment contract.

It's essential for employees to understand the difference between gross salary and take-home pay to manage their personal finances effectively.

Learn more about net salary in “Net Salary: A Guide for Employers in Singapore”!

What should be included in my employee’s monthly gross salary?

When determining an employee's monthly gross salary, it's important to consider all the regular components of their compensation. This includes:

  • the basic salary
  • any fixed monthly allowances
  • any other recurring payments, such as housing or transport allowances

Typically, bonuses and overtime pay, which may not be regular, are not included in the monthly gross salary calculation but are factored in when determining the annual gross salary.

What should be included in my employee’s annual gross salary?

An employee's annual gross salary is the total amount they earn in a year, including all forms of compensation. To calculate this figure, you should include:

  • Basic salary: The fixed amount an employee receives monthly.
  • All allowances: Include monthly allowances, housing allowances, transport allowances, and others.
  • Bonuses: Any performance-based or annual bonuses should be included.
  • Overtime pay: If applicable, include extra pay for overtime work.
  • Any other forms of compensation: Consider all other benefits, incentives, or perks provided over the course of the year.

Tip: Employee bonuses are a great way to thank your staff for all their hard work. Head over to our bonus guide for employers in Singapore as we share with you some of the most common types of bonuses and whether they are subject to CPF so that you can make an informed decision about how to reward your employees!

Why is calculating gross salary important?

Calculating gross salary is essential for several reasons, and it serves various purposes for both employers and employees.

Benefits for employers:

  • Compensation planning: For employers, understanding gross salary is crucial for compensation planning. It helps in budgeting for employee costs, setting competitive salary structures, and making informed decisions about salary increments, bonuses, and other forms of compensation.
  • Negotiation and recruitment: During job negotiations and recruitment, both employers and candidates use gross salary figures as a starting point for discussions. Understanding gross salary ensures that negotiations are based on accurate and comprehensive compensation information.
  • Talent retention: Employees are more likely to stay with a company that offers a competitive gross salary. Understanding and offering competitive gross salaries can help attract and retain top talent, reducing employee turnover.
  • Performance evaluation: Gross salary can also be tied to an employee's performance. Bonuses and other incentives are often included in the gross salary calculation, motivating employees to perform at their best.

Benefits for employees:

  • Transparency: Gross salary provides transparency to employees about the total compensation they receive for their work. It ensures that employees understand the full value of their employment package, including not only their base salary but also allowances, bonuses, and other benefits.
  • Personal financial planning: Employees often use their gross salary as a basis for financial planning. It helps them budget for expenses, set savings goals, and make informed financial decisions.

In summary, calculating gross salary is crucial for helping employers and employees make informed decisions, meet regulatory requirements, and create a work environment that attracts and retains talented professionals.

Is salary increment usually based on basic or gross salary?

Salary increments in Singapore can be based on either basic salary or gross salary, depending on the company's policies and practices. Some companies may choose to provide increments based on an employee's basic salary to ensure a consistent increase in their regular pay. Others may opt to use gross salary, which includes all forms of compensation, providing employees with a more comprehensive increase in their total earnings.

It's important for both employers and employees to be clear about the basis for salary increments, as this can impact an individual's overall compensation growth.

Gross salary: Your path to competitiveness and employee retention

Understanding gross salary is a fundamental aspect of managing your workforce as an employer in Singapore. It not only affects your financial responsibilities but also plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining talent. By grasping the nuances of gross salary, you can ensure that your compensation packages are competitive and fair to your employees!

Simplify payroll calculations with Payboy HR software!

Payroll calculations can be complex, especially if you are managing a large team of employees with different working arrangements. But fret not; Payboy HR software is here to help! 

With our fully compliant, customisable, and integrated payroll processing module, you can automate the CPF calculations and also enjoy additional features that are designed to save you time and effort.

  1. 100% compliance and 100% peace of mind
    • Forget about payroll and SDL calculations, CPF contributions, and IR8A submissions. Our software will automatically calculate them for you and keep you compliant with the latest regulations from MOM, CPF, and IRAS.
  2. Covers any work arrangement
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  4. Customisable itemised payslips
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    • We’ll fit into your ecosystem seamlessly and keep your finance team happy. Learn more about our seamless integrations with Xero, Financio, and Quickbooks.

Streamline your HR processes with Payboy today!

As a PSG-approved HRMS, Payboy provides a robust system to help you manage your HR tasks so that you can focus on your business and people!

With our wide range of modules, you can customise a solution to meet the specific needs of your business:

Payroll Processing | Leave Management | Claims Management | Applicant Tracking | Time Attendance | Shift Scheduling | Appraisal System | Inventory Management | Project Costing | Training Management | Benefits

Find out how you can do it all with Payboy

Reach out to us if you are keen for a free demo on how we can help you save hours and give you some peace of mind on payroll and other HR matters so that you can focus on your business and people.
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