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Singapore at a Glance
- Currency: Singapore Dollar, SGD (S$)
- Population: 5.92 million (113th largest)
- Economy/GDP: $531.04 billion (38th largest)
- Top Sectors: Electronics manufacturing, financial services, petroleum refining, biomedical device production, telecommunication equipment, and tourism.
- Ease of Doing Business: Ranks 2 in the world, according to the World Bank’s latest Doing Business report from 2019
- Languages: The official languages in Singapore are English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil. English is widely spoken by nearly half of the population.
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Grow Your Team in Singapore
Bringing your business to Singapore is a monumental venture, but partnering with an experienced expansion company, like Velocity Global, eases the process. Our global Employer of Record provides a fast and compliant business expansion into Singapore, without the arduous and lengthy establishment process.
Velocity Global helps you take advantage of timely business opportunities in Singapore. By hiring your supported employees and managing all payroll, taxes, and benefits, we spare you ample time and frustration. Whether you hire a single supported employee or build a brand new team, our Employer of Record in Singapore simplifies this complicated process and jumpstarts your operations in Singapore.
Benefits of hiring in Singapore
- According to Velocity Global’s 2020 State of Global Expansion Report™: Technology Industry, Singapore is the world’s top market for growing tech companies. The World Bank ranks second for ease of doing business, only behind New Zealand.
- Singapore’s geography places it within a six-hour radius of any Southeast Asian country, creating a feasible hub for accessing the region’s quickly-growing consumer market.
- Singapore is one of the world’s top exporters of products and services. Singapore has no foreign debt but maintains high government revenue and a persistent surplus. The Singaporean economy remains one of the world’s most stable countries.
- Singapore has an English-speaking population with proficiency levels surpassing all other Asian markets. The city-state’s census data shows English is the country’s predominant language and a majority of Singaporeans use English as their primary language at home.
Challenges of hiring in Singapore
- Singapore is hugely dependent on imports, due to the country’s relatively small size which disallows agriculture growth and an abundance of natural resources. In 2021, imported goods accounted for 95% of GDP.
- In recent years, competition in the Singaporean market has become intense, as global powers are highly attracted to the country’s economy.
- Rental and operating costs are known to be excessive, making promotional marketing a challenge for foreign businesses.
Cultural nuances and must-knows of doing business in Singapore
- Business meetings in Singapore are typically formal and slow-moving.
- Be punctual for meetings and apologize for tardiness if late.
- Receiving a business card with respect is representative of the deference given to the person who provides the card. Use both hands when receiving and giving business cards.
- Singaporeans generally respect authority and asking questions can be perceived as challenging it. Actively encourage questions in order to receive feedback.
- Use an indirect approach while making a corrective proposition to steer clear of causing your Singaporean colleagues to lose face.
- Allow moments of occasional silence for your Singaporean colleagues to contemplate a response to what has been said, as it may take up to 10 seconds for them to speak when given the opportunity.
- Singaporean business culture is hierarchical by age and position. In meetings, discern the most senior colleague and show attentiveness by asking their point of view throughout.
- Singaporean business culture heavily rewards personal relationships. Building trust is essential in order to fulfill a successful business.
- One of the major religions in Singapore is Islam. Meetings may be interrupted by practicing Muslims for their prayer sessions. It’s wise to schedule meetings that are cognizant of Muslim prayer times and holidays.
Wages and Salaries in Singapore
- According to the Singaporean Ministry of Manpower, there is no prescribed minimum wage for local or foreign employees in Singapore.
- There is no legal requirement for a probation period in Singapore, but they are permissible and usually set between three and six months.
- There is no legal obligation under the Employment Act of Singapore for employers to reward employees with a contractual or discretionary bonus. However, a 13-month bonus is customary at the inclination of the employer.
- Employers must issue a written contract of the key employment terms to employees no later than 14 days after an employee begins work. The key employment terms include the following:
- Job title and work description
- Employment start date
- Daily work hours, work days per week, and rest days
- Salary and pay period
- Types of leave
Termination and notice periods
- If an employee is covered under Singapore’s Employment Act:
- The notice period’s length must be the same for both the employer and employee.
- If the employment contract doesn’t include a notice period, the employer must comply with the Employment Act’s minimum notice periods. They depend upon an employee’s length of service and span between one day to four weeks.
- Payment in lieu of notice is permissible by either employer or employee.
- Either employer or employee may immediately terminate the employment relationship due to a willful breach of contract by the other party.
- Singaporean law does not have any statutory requirements for severance payments. The employment contract must address any entitlement to severance payments.
Leave Entitlements in Singapore
- Employees are entitled to annual leave if they are covered by Singapore’s Employment Act and have at least three months of service. Employees are entitled to a minimum of seven days and receive an additional day of leave after each year of service, limited to a maximum of 14 days.
- Employees in Singapore are guaranteed 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, upon the conditions of having worked for at least three months and the child is a citizen of Singapore. If the child is not a Singaporian citizen, maternity leave consists of 12 weeks.
- Employees in Singapore are eligible for 2 weeks of Government-Paid Paternity Leave (GPPL) after meeting the following conditions:
- The child is a citizen of Singapore
- The employee has been legally married to the child’s mother between conception and birth
- The employee has worked for his employer for at least 3 months prior to childbirth
- Adoptive fathers are eligible for paternity leave if the child is a citizen of Singapore.
- Employees are eligible for sick leave if:
- They are covered under the Singaporean Employment Act
- They have worked for their employer for at least three months
- They have informed or try to inform their employer of their absence within 48 hours
- The Singaporean Employment Act designates sick and hospitalization leave depending on an employee’s length of service. The leave entitlements are as follows:
Months of Service Completed
Days of Paid Sick Leave
Days of Hospitalization Leave
6 and more
National and regional holidays
- Singapore has 10 public holidays in a calendar year, which are not included in the minimum paid leave entitlement and are taken in addition to annual leave. The following holidays are national holidays recognized by all of Singapore:
- New Year’s Day (January 1)
- Chinese New Year (January or February, the specific days fluctuate each year)
- Good Friday (March or April, the specific day fluctuates each year)
Labor Day (May 1)
- Hari Raya Puasa (March, April, or May, the specific day fluctuates each year)
- Vesak Day (May or June, the specific day fluctuates each year)
- Hari Raya Haji (May, June, or July, the specific day fluctuates each year)
- National Day (August 9)
- Deepavali (October or November, the specific day fluctuates each year)
- Christmas Day (December 25)
Benefits in Singapore
- The Ministry of Manpower provides overall administration of labor relations, workforce needs, and old-age retirement procurement assistance.
- The Ministry of Health regulates the country’s public healthcare system.
- The Central Provident Fund (CPF) is a mandatory social security savings scheme funded by contributions from employers and employees. The CPF is an integral part of the Singaporean social security system, as it maintains all employees’ old-age retirement pensions, housing needs, and healthcare coverage.
- The CPF funds are classified into three separate accounts: the Ordinary account, the MediSave account, and the Special account. The Ordinary account is used to purchase housing, make investments, or pay for education. The MediSave account is used for medical expenses and health insurance. The Special account is used for retirement savings and pension.
Tax and Social Security in Singapore
- Regardless of resident status, all Singapore-source income is taxable. Income from outside Singapore is only taxable if it’s received within the country by a Singaporean resident through a partnership in Singapore.
- Non-resident individuals are taxed at a flat rate of 22% in 2022 and 24% in 2024. However, employment income is taxed at a flat rate of 15% or at resident rates with personal reliefs, whichever is higher.
- The Singaporean income tax brackets for 2022 to 2024 are:
- Up to SGD 20,000: 0%
- From SGD 20,000 to SGD 30,000: 2%
- From SGD 30,000 to SGD 40,000: 3.5%
- From SGD 40,000 to SGD 80,000: 7%
- From SGD 80,000 to SGD 120,000: 11.5%
- From SGD 120,000 to SGD 160,000: 15%
- From SGD 160,000 to SGD 200,000: 18%
- From SGD 200,000 to SGD 240,000: 19%
- From SGD 240,000 to SGD 280,000: 19.5%
- From SGD 280,000 to SGD 320,000: 20%
- From SGD 320,000 to SGD 500,000: 22%
- From SGD 500,000 to SGD 1,000,000: 22% in 2022 and 2023. 23% in 2024.
- Above SGD 1,000,000: 22% in 2022 and 2023. 24% in 2024.
- Through a mixed financing system, Singapore’s healthcare system is universal with a multiplayer healthcare financing framework. Multiple schemes and payers typically overlap and cover a single medical treatment. The 3Ms system includes the following programs:
- MediShield Life, Singapore’s public statutory insurance system covers large bills from hospital services
- MediSave, Singapore’s national medical savings scheme which helps to cover out-of-pocket medical payments
- MediFund, Singapore’s national government welfare program for the most at need residents who cannot afford out-of-pocket medical payments
- Employees in Singapore are subject to eligibility requirements for the state’s old-age retirement pension. When employees reach 55 years of age, savings from contributions made to their Central Provident Fund’s (CPF) Special account and Ordinary account will be transferred to their Retirement account. 55 years of age is the eligible withdrawal age for employees to receive their savings as a lump sum. Employees at 65 years of age are eligible to withdraw up to 20% of their Retirement Account savings. Additionally, 65 years is the eligibility age for receiving monthly payouts from a CPF account.
Payroll in Singapore
- In Singapore, the tax year is the calendar year. Tax returns need to be filed by April 15 for hardcopy filing and by April 18 for electronic filing.
- Singapore’s Employment Act designates that an employee’s salary must be paid at least once a month within seven days after a salary period’s end.
- The Singaporean Employment Act describes normal working hours to not exceed more than eight hours daily or 44 hours weekly.
- In Singapore, overtime is considered time worked in excess of normal working hours. Employees are not permitted to work overtime more than 72 hours a month. Subject to some exceptions, employees are not permitted to work more than 12 hours a day. The overtime pay rate is at least 150% of an employee’s regular hourly wage.
Why Work in Singapore?
Singapore is a small, tropical island country in southeast Asia on the Malay Peninsula’s southern point. The city-state is about half the size of New York City and is home to nearly six million people from four major ethnic groups: Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Eurasian.
Singapore is a captivating choice for an international business partner in the Asia Pacific. It’s the world’s most active seaport and a top location for foreign direct investments in the region. Factors such as a competitive workforce, business-friendly economy, and forward looking government policies have allowed Singapore to be the world’s gateway to Asia.
Those searching for reasons to work and live in Singapore can look forward to widely spoken English, one of the highest qualities of life in Asia, excellent physical infrastructure, an attractive tax structure, and a multicultural epicenter. Singaporeans share cultural values that heavily emphasize community, family, respect, consensus, and harmony.
The climate in Singapore is tropical with generous rainfall and high, uniform temperatures, and humidity. The country has two monsoon seasons: the northeast monsoon season is from December to March while the southwest monsoon season is from June to September. Rainfall is abundant in Singapore as it rains on average 167 days a year. Since the country is situated near the equator, the length of sunshine in a day is usually consistent. It varies between four to five hours of sunshine during the wettest months to eight to nine hours during the drier interval.
Singapore offers its residents and visitors a variety of charm and culture. The country’s century-old temples, lively hawker centers, and flourishing green spaces showcase Singapore’s enchanting mixture of old and new architectural masterpieces. Singapore is home to world-class cuisine and flavors for all taste buds with its unique hawker food culture and food festivals. Singapore has national cultural events, music festivals, and traditional celebrations held year round for residents and visitors to enjoy. Competitive sports are a major attraction in Singapore with its grand prix car races and rugby tournaments. The vibrant and dynamic options for recreation and leisure are world-renowned in Singapore.
To get around Singapore, the majority of commuters use the country’s public transit system, the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), which is very reliable and inexpensive. The underground network has lines that extend across the entire city-state. The MRT also operates bus routes that enable commuters to get almost anywhere on the island. The MRT is also one of the most scenic modes of transport as commuters are able to indulge in air-conditioned comfort, while they admire the island’s greenery and the city’s architecture.
Singapore is revered for its energetic, diverse culture and all it encompasses. If you’re contemplating where to work or expand your business in southeast Asia, Singapore may be the perfect fit.