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Singapore working hours guide for employers

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to Singapore working hours! Here, we unravel the intricacies of normal work hours, rest day entitlements, and overtime calculations. Dive into our guide to understand your employees’ obligations and rights under the Employment Act. Plus, explore our handy tips and tools to ensure accurate payroll processing and compliance with MOM regulations.

What are the normal working hours in Singapore?

In Singapore, employees covered under the Employment Act Part IV have contractual working hours that cannot exceed 8 hours per day or 44 hours per week. According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the common work arrangements under the "Normal hours of work" section are as follows:

Common work arrangementsContractual hours of work
5 days or less a weekUp to 9 hours per day or 44 hours a week
More than 5 days a weekUp to 8 hours a day or 44 hours a week

For other work arrangements, your contractual hours of work are as follows:

If you workYour contractual hours of work are
Less than 44 hours every alternate weekUp to 48 hours a week, but capped at 88 hours in any continuous 2-week period.
If week 1 = 40 hours; week 2 = 48 hours; week 3 = 40 hours:
Average for weeks 1 and 2 = 44 hoursAverage for weeks 2 and 3 = 44 hours
Shifts of up to 12 hours a dayUp to an average of 44 hours over a continuous 3-week period.
If week 1 = 40 hours; week 2 = 44 hours; week 3 = 48 hours; week 4 = 40 hours:
Average for weeks 1, 2 and 3 = 44 hoursAverage for weeks 2, 3 and 4 = 44 hours

When employees who are not designated as shift workers choose to work up to 12 hours per day, with an average not exceeding 44 hours over any continuous 3-week period, it's crucial to adhere to the following requirements:

  1. Obtain written consent from the employee for extended hours.
  2. Provide detailed explanations regarding the provisions outlined in Sections 38 and 40 of the Employment Act.
  3. Accurately inform your employee about their daily working hours, number of working days in each week, and weekly rest day.

What are the working hours per week in Singapore?

The typical workweek in Singapore consists of 44 hours, spread across 5 days from Monday to Friday. Employers should ensure that employees do not exceed these prescribed hours to prevent overwork and promote work-life balance.

What are the maximum working hours per day in Singapore?

Employees are generally prohibited from working more than 12 hours a day, but exceptions may apply under specific circumstances such as:

  • Accidents
  • Essential community tasks
  • Urgent machinery repair
  • Unforeseen interruptions.

Is a lunch break included in Singapore’s working hours?

Working hours typically refer to the period designated for employees to carry out their assigned duties, excluding intervals allowed for rest, tea breaks, and meals.

However, it's crucial to strike a balance: Employees are generally advised not to work for more than 6 consecutive hours without a break. Exceptions exist for tasks requiring an 8-hour stretch, where meal breaks of at least 45 minutes are crucial. This approach aims to optimise productivity while ensuring employees have sufficient breaks to recharge and refuel.

How to calculate hourly pay for part-time employees?

If you have a part-time employee paid by the month, you can calculate their hourly and daily basic rates of pay as follows:

Hourly basic rate of pay12 x Monthly basic rate of pay——————————————52 x No. of hours worked in a week
Daily basic rate of pay12 x Monthly basic rate of pay——————————————52 x Number of days a part-time employee is required to work in a week

Example 1:

Calvin is a part-time employee who earns a monthly basic rate of $1000 and is required to work 20 hours per week. To calculate their hourly basic rate of pay:

Hourly basic rate of pay = (12 x $1000) / (52 x 20) = $12000 / 1040 = $11.54 per hour

Example 2:

Kelsie is a part-time employee with a monthly basic rate of $1000 and is expected to work 3 days a week. To find their daily basic rate of pay:

Daily basic rate of pay = (12 x $1000) / (52 x 3) = $12000 / 156 = $76.92 per day

Tip: As an employer, hiring part-time employees can be a smart move for any business looking to improve efficiency and manage costs. Head over to our guide to hiring part-time employees in Singapore to learn more about how to manage your part-time employees!

How do rest days work in Singapore?

Employers must allocate one unpaid rest day per week, covering a full day from midnight to midnight within a seven-day period, typically from Monday to Sunday.

For shift workers, this rest period can extend for 30 consecutive hours, starting before 6pm on Sunday and continuing into Monday, considered one rest day.

Employers can decide the rest day, either Sunday or another day, and must provide advance notice of monthly rest day schedules to employees. 

Mandating work on a rest day is only permissible in exceptional circumstances. 

Tip: Head over to our comprehensive rest day guide for employers in Singapore to learn more about managing rest days for your employees to ensure they are well-rested.

How to calculate my employee’s pay if he or she works on a rest day?

The rest day pay is calculated as follows:

If work is doneFor up to half the normal daily working hoursFor more than half the normal daily working hoursBeyond the normal daily working hours
At the employer’s request1 day’s salary2 days’ salary2 days’ salary + overtime pay
At the employee’s requestHalf day’s salary1 day’s salary1 day’s salary + overtime pay

Tip: When calculating your employee's pay for working on a rest day, ensure that you comply with the regulations set by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore. Our rest day guide for employers in Singapore provides detailed information and calculations to help you accurately determine your employee's entitlements and avoid any compliance issues.

What is the maximum number of overtime hours?

The maximum overtime limit is 72 hours per month. However, work on rest days or public holidays doesn't count towards the 72-hour limit, except for additional hours beyond regular daily working hours on those days, which are included in the limit.

For companies that want to be exempted from the maximum hours of overtime stipulated in the Employment Act, they must apply for overtime exemption at MOM’s website.

How to calculate overtime pay?

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

The hourly basic rate of pay is calculated as follows:

Employee typeHourly basic pay calculation
Monthly-rated employee(12 x Monthly basic rate of pay) / (52 x 44)
Daily-rated employeeDaily pay at the basic rate / Working hours per day
Piece-rated employeeTotal weekly pay at the basic rate of pay / Total number of hours worked in the week

Tip: Discover everything you need to know about overtime pay regulations in Singapore and streamline your overtime management process with our overtime pay guide for employers in Singapore. Reduce the risk of errors in overtime payments and try out our overtime pay calculator for compliance matters! 

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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!

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Time Attendance | Shift Scheduling | Appraisal System | Inventory ManagementProject Costing | Training Management

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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