Employees in Singapore work some of the longest hours. In MOM’s recent Labour Force in Singapore 2022 advance release report, this was tabulated at 44.6 hours per week for full-timers. Part IV of the Singapore Employment Act stipulates that certain employees who work beyond 44 hours per week must be paid overtime pay – regardless of what their employment contract may say.
Which Employees Are Entitled To Overtime Pay In Singapore?
Part IV of Singapore’s Employment Act only applies to:
#1 Workmen who do not earn more than $4,500 a month. Workmen are generally those who do manual labour, such as cleaner, construction worker, machine operator, train, bus lorry and van drivers, and others.
#2 Most employees (other than workmen or those employed in a managerial or an executive position) who do not earn more than $2,600 a month
The salary caps on each employee type excludes overtime payments, bonus payment, annual wage supplements, productivity incentive payments and any allowance. Overtime pay is applicable for full-time and part-time employees, as well as other types of employees.
This also means employees not protected by Part IV of the Employment Act are not entitled to any overtime pay, regardless of how long they may work. Of course, to provide fairer or more competitive remuneration, employers are free to provide overtime pay via employment contracts.
What Is Considered (Or Not Considered) Overtime Work?
Employees protected under Part IV of the Employment Act typically have normal working hours of up to 8 to 9 hours per day or 44 hours per week. Any work done beyond this limit is legally considered as overtime hours.
If such employees work:
Contractual Hours (Limit Set By Employment Act)
5 days or less a week
Up to 9 hours a day or 44 hours a week
More than 5 days a week
Up to 8 hours a day or 44 hours a week
Employers are required to provide employees with details on the number of hours they work within their payslips. This is to reduce instances of disputes as well as provide employees with a clear record of their overtime hours.
Each month, employees are only allowed to work up to 72 overtime hours. Each day, employees are also not permitted to work beyond 12 hours unless there is:
an accident or threat of accident.
work that is essential to the life of the community, national defence or security.
urgent work to be done to machinery or plant.
an interruption of work that was impossible to foresee.
Employers may apply for exemptions if they require their employees to work more than this cap on overtime hours. According to MOM, certain higher-risk job roles will not be granted this exemption.
Overtime work is also separate from working on rest days and working on public holidays. This means any work done on rest days and public holidays does not count towards the 72-hour limit on overtime work each month.
How Much Should Employees Be Paid For Overtime Work?
Employees who work overtime should be paid at least 1.5 times their hourly basic rate of pay. Again, employers can offer more than this to make the remuneration more compelling. Employers CANNOT substitute overtime pay with time off. This is to encourage employers to ensure proper labour scheduling and provide employees with fair wages for longer hours.
The “hourly basic rate of pay” can generally be calculated as:
(12 X Monthly Basic Rate of pay)
(52 X 44)
The numerator is an employee’s yearly wage. The denominator breaks this wage down into an hourly figure by dividing 52 weeks multiplied by the 44 hours a week cap.
While part-time employees are also entitled to overtime pay, the calculation differs slightly to full-time employees. For part-time employees, any overtime work done beyond their part-time hours BUT up to a full-time employee’s normal working hours will be paid at their hourly basic rate of pay. Only if part-time employees work beyond the normal working hours of a full-time employee, will they be paid 1.5 times their hourly basic rate of pay.
For example, a part-time employee is supposed to work 4 hours a day, while full-time employees work 8 hours a day. If the part-time employee ends up working 10 hours a day, the individual will be entitled to: (4 hours X hourly basic rate of pay) + (4 overtime hours X hourly basic rate of pay) + (2 overtime hours X 1.5 times hourly basic rate of pay). I.e. only the hours beyond the full-time working hours are paid at 1.5 times the hourly basic rate of pay.
Employers and employees can use this MOM overtime pay calculator to find out how much overtime pay is due.
Unlike normal wages, which must be paid within seven days after the last day of the salary period, overtime pay must be paid within 14 days of the last day of the salary period.
This article was first published on 14 July 2022 and updated.
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