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Guide to hiring interns in Singapore

Internships bridge the gap between education and employment, offering students and graduates valuable experience while providing companies with fresh talent. This guide covers everything you need to know about hiring interns in Singapore, including their rights under the Employment Act. It also explores other key insights into salary calculations, CPF contributions, and entitlements such as overtime pay and public holiday pay, ensuring your internship programme is effective and compliant with local regulations. Read on to find out more!

Who is considered an intern?

An intern is typically a student or recent graduate who joins an organisation for a temporary period to gain practical experience in a specific field. Internships are designed to provide hands-on training and exposure to real-world job responsibilities, bridging the gap between academic learning and professional employment. Interns can come from various educational backgrounds, including universities, polytechnics, and vocational institutes.

Why do companies hire interns?

Companies hire interns for several reasons:

  1. Fresh perspectives: Interns bring new ideas and fresh perspectives that can invigorate and innovate existing processes.
  2. Talent pipeline: Internships serve as a way to identify and groom potential future employees. This helps in reducing hiring costs and ensuring a cultural fit.
  3. Increased productivity: Interns can assist with tasks and projects, thereby increasing overall productivity.
  4. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Offering internships demonstrates a company's commitment to supporting education and professional development.
  5. Skill development: Interns often have up-to-date knowledge of the latest technologies and trends, which can be beneficial to the company.

What are some tasks that an intern can do?

Interns can be assigned a variety of tasks, depending on their field of study and the needs of the company. Some common tasks include:

  • Administrative support: Handling paperwork, scheduling meetings, and managing databases.
  • Research and analysis: Conducting market research, data analysis, and preparing reports.
  • Project assistance: Supporting ongoing projects, contributing to team efforts, and managing specific tasks.
  • Marketing and social media: Assisting in creating content, managing social media accounts, and coordinating marketing campaigns.
  • Technical work: Writing code, troubleshooting software, and supporting IT functions.
  • Customer service: Engaging with clients, handling enquiries, and providing support.

Are interns covered by the Employment Act?

Interns in Singapore may or may not be covered by the Employment Act, depending on the nature of their internship. Interns engaged under a contract of service are typically covered by the Employment Act, which provides basic employment terms and conditions such as working hours, rest days, and overtime pay. However, interns on attachment or training programmes that are part of their educational curriculum may not be fully covered by the Employment Act.

Are there grants to hire interns?

Yes, there are grants available for companies looking to hire interns in Singapore. One such initiative is the Global Ready Talent Programme by Enterprise Singapore. This programme supports local enterprises in building talent pipelines to support their internationalisation efforts by co-funding internships.

Here’s a quick summary of the programme:

  1. Funding support: The programme provides financial support to up to 50% to help offset the cost of hiring interns. This makes it more affordable for companies to bring on board young talent.
  2. Eligibility criteria: To qualify for the funding, companies must meet certain criteria, such as being registered and operating in Singapore and having a structured internship programme that offers meaningful learning opportunities.
  3. Application process: Companies need to apply for the funding through Enterprise Singapore’s official channels and create a Global Ready Talent (GRT) account using Corpass access. The application requires detailed information about the internship programme, including its objectives, structure, and expected outcomes.

Head over to Singapore Enterprise informative guide on "Global Talent Ready - Internship Programme" for the most recent updates and regulations.

What is the typical monthly salary for interns?

Calculating the salary for interns involves considering the scope of work, industry standards, and educational background of the intern. While there is no mandated minimum wage for interns in Singapore, companies are encouraged to provide fair compensation. A typical monthly stipend for interns ranges from $1,000 to $1,500, depending on the nature of the work and the level of expertise required.

Do Singaporean interns have to make CPF contributions?

In general, CPF contributions are required for all local employees, including interns, to ensure that Singapore citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents benefit from the employer-employee relationship.

However, employers can be exempted from making CPF contributions on wages (such as allowance, bonus, and overtime pay) for interns if the interns are students who:

  1. Are enrolled in an institution or programme subsidised by the Ministry of Education (MOE), and
  2. Are employed for training approved by their educational institution.

This policy aims to prioritise internship opportunities for students whose courses of study align with national objectives. For these CPF-exempt internships (including any approved extensions), employers must obtain and retain documentation from the educational institutions. Find out more about which classes of student employees are CPF exempted under the header “Students”.

If the internship is not endorsed by the educational institution, CPF contributions are required, similar to part-time and temporary employment.

Tip: Learn more about your responsibilities as an employer in our CPF guide for employers!

Are interns entitled to overtime pay?

Interns covered by the Employment Act are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than the stipulated working hours. The overtime rate is 1.5 times the hourly basic rate of pay.

If Hours WorkedOvertime Pay Calculation
Exceed daily working hours but less than a full-time employee's normal hoursBasic hourly rate of pay
Exceed a full-time employee's normal hoursBasic hourly rate x 1.5


If an intern’s hourly rate is $10, and they work 2 hours of overtime in a week, their overtime pay would be calculated as follows:

Overtime pay = overtime hours x basic hourly rate x 1.5

Overtime pay = 2 x 10 x 1.5 = $30

Keep yourself updated on overtime pay regulations with our guide: “The overtime pay guide for employers in Singapore.

Are interns entitled to public holiday pay?

Interns who work on a public holiday are entitled to an extra day’s salary or a substitute holiday if they are covered under the Employment Act. If an intern is required to work on a public holiday, the pay rate will be:


Theo is an intern at ABC Company who receives $1,000 at a monthly rate and works 5 days a week. Theo was working during a public holiday in June, his public holiday pay would be:

Public holiday pay = 12 x the monthly basic rate of pay x public holiday worked on / 52 x average number of days an employee works in a week

Public holiday pay = 12 x $1,000 x 1 / 52 x 5 = $46.15

Gain more clarity and confidence in managing public holiday pay with our “Public Holiday pay guide”.

Are interns entitled to annual leave?

Interns covered under the Employment Act are entitled to annual leave if they have been with the company for at least 3 months. The entitlement is prorated based on the duration of the internship.


Chloe is an intern who has worked for ABC Company for 6 months, and the company's policy grants 14 days of annual leave per year. Chloe would be entitled to:

Annual leave entitlement = (Number of completed months of service ÷ 12 months) × Number of days of annual leave entitlement)

Annual leave entitlement = (6 ÷ 12) × 14 days = 7 days

Check out our guide on “Annual leave in Singapore - What every employer must know” to learn more.

Are interns entitled to sick leave and medical benefits?

Interns covered under the Employment Act are entitled to paid sick leave if they have worked for at least 3 months and have a medical certificate from a registered doctor.


If an intern falls sick and has a valid medical certificate, they are entitled to paid sick leave according to their length of service.

Stay informed about sick and hospitalisation leave regulations by reading our comprehensive guide: “Sick & hospitalisation leave in Singapore - What every employer must know.

Do interns get employee benefits?

While not mandated, it is beneficial for companies to offer additional perks to interns to enhance their experience. These can include:

  • Learning opportunities: Access to training and development programmes.
  • Mentorship: Guidance from experienced professionals.
  • Networking opportunities: Participation in industry events and company functions.
  • Workplace amenities: Access to facilities like gyms, canteens, and recreation areas.

Are interns covered under the Employment Act (EA) or the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA)?

The Employment Act and Work Injury Compensation Act cover employees engaged under a contract of service. This includes internships if there is a contract of service signed between the intern and the employer.

For internships that students undergo as part of their academic course requirements in schools, they will typically not be subjected to the legal provisions in the Employment Act and WICA.

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