The Republic of Singapore is an island nation in southern Asia. More than 60 satellite islands and islets comprise Singapore. There are four official languages, which are English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil. Singapore is the recipient of wealth of foreign investment due in part to its strategic location in Asia. It has the third highest net international investment position in the world. More than 5.7 million people live in Singapore.
In Singapore, a contract of service is an agreement between an employer and employee that is enforceable by law. Singapore generally allows parties to freely negotiate terms and enter into a contract of service, provided that it does not contain illegal terms. A contract of service can be written or verbal, express or implied. The agreement can be in the form of an appointment letter or employment or apprenticeship agreement. However, employers must provide key employment terms in writing within 14 days of the start of employment to employees covered under the Employment Act.
The standard work period is eight hours a day and 44 hours per week, over five and a half days.
Employees receive paid sick leave after three months of service, with full benefits vesting after six months of service. Employees with six months of service receive 60 days of paid hospitalization leave, which includes the 14 days of paid outpatient leave. Employees with between three and six months of service receive sick leave on a pro-rated basis.
Female employees receive either 12 or 16 weeks of maternity leave depending upon whether the child is a citizen of Singapore. If the mother has worked for the employer for at least three continuous months before the birth of the child and the child is a citizen of Singapore, the mother receives 16 weeks of maternity leave. Married women can share up to four weeks of maternity leave with their spouse. Fathers receive two weeks of paid paternity if they meet certain conditions.
Bonuses are not required but some employers pay them.
Employees receive seven days of leave after 12 months of continuous service and are granted an additional day of leave for every year of service until they reach 14 days of leave after eight years of service. However, it is common practice in Singapore for employers to provide 14 days of leave at the time of hire.Employees with between three and 12 months of continuous service are entitled to annual leave on a pro-rated basis.
Singapore observes the following public holidays:
If the public holiday falls on a rest day, which is Sunday or other day as determined by the employer, the next working day will be a paid holiday. If the holiday falls on an employee’s rest day or non-working day, the employer can either pay the employee for the day at the employee’s gross rate of pay or give the employee a substitute day off. Employers and employees can also agree to substitute another day for a public holiday.
Singapore has universal healthcare that is funded through a mix of financing systems, including government subsidies and mandatory contributions by employers and employees. Citizens and residents must enroll in universal basic health care insurance, called MediShield Life, which covers large hospitalization and some outpatient costs. While premiums and the costs of certain services are subsidized by the government, there is an annual deductible of between SGD 1,500 and SGD 3,000 and co-payments of 3% to 10%.Employers and employees are also required to contribute to a national medical savings account, called MediSave. Contributions are generally 8% to 10.5%, depending on the employee’s age. Amounts accrued in the account are used to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses.
The notice period is between one day and four weeks. There is no requirement to provide severance, unless specified in the employment contract.
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