Companies extending their operations into Singapore need a complete grasp of Singaporean employment contracts. Bradford Jacobs’ recruitment specialists will guide you and your employees through every step of onboarding into Singapore. From talent acquisition to the complexities of employment legislation, payroll and tax, Bradford Jacobs ticks all the compliance boxes, and we ensure every aspect is contractually watertight.

Transferring staff from abroad requires compliance with strict and complex quota limits to obtain visas and work permits, a long and hazardous process. Making mistakes risks sanctions, wasting time and money with the likelihood the employee will not be allowed to start work or may even be promptly deported on arrival at the airport. The alternative is to locate and recruit staff within Singapore. This takes a thorough knowledge of the employment market. At Bradford Jacobs, we have the expertise and experience to clear the way for your Global Expansion.

The global reach of our Professional Employment Organisation (PEO) recruitment platforms, combined with the in-country knowledge of our Employer of Record (EOR) specialist teams, guarantees a successful and smooth transition for your employees in your new territory.

The different types of Singaporean Employment Contracts

Employers must give staff who come under the Employment Act a written record of their Key Employment Terms (KETs) within 14 days of starting work. Generally, employers and employees are free to contract their arrangements if they do not contravene minimum benefits and entitlements as spelt out in the Act.

Main contract types include:

Permanent Employment Contracts:  These have no end date and are in force until terminated either by the employer or employee. Employees are considered full-time if they work more than 35 hours a week and are entitled to all statutory benefits.

Fixed-term Employment Contracts (known as Term Contracts):  These are tied to a specific length of time or project. Fixed-term employees have the same rights as permanent employees if they have worked for at least three months and are also considered full-time if they work at least 35 hours a week. Where an employee serves a succession of fixed-term contracts of at least 14 days each, the Ministry of Manpower encourages employers to consider them permanent if a fixed-term contract is renewed within one month of the previous contract ending.

Probation Periods: These can be included in a contract, although there is no mandatory requirement, and generally last between three and six months.

Collective Bargaining Agreements:  A trade union can only negotiate a collective agreement for its members once the employer has recognised it, as set out in the Industrial Relations Act. The agreement must be certified by the Industrial Arbitration Court and is valid for a minimum of two years and a maximum of three.

Singaporean Employment Contracts Requirements

Internationally-minded companies hiring employees in Singapore must operate within a rigid framework of legislation and quotas on the make-up of their workforce. The Employment Act covers most aspects of employment regulations, although this does not cover all employees. The Act’s definition of ‘employees’ does not include executive and managerial staff, domestic staff, seamen and most government employees.

Understanding the differences between EA and non-EA employees is vital during the first stages of hiring, onboarding and drawing up contracts with your new staff. Once Bradford Jacobs’ PEO recruitment networks have located the best talent for your company, we step in to steer you through this crucial element of recruitment.

General requirements applying to all contracts include the following:

  • Employees covered by the Employment Act (EA) must be given a written record of Key Employment Terms (KETs) as set out in the Employment Regulations – Employment Records, Key Employment Terms and Pay Slips Regulations, 2016.
  • KETs should include a description of the role, primary duties and responsibilities; start date; working hours, days, breaks and rest days; salary and payment schedule; vacation allowance; notice periods, termination and severance terms; any probation period.
  • KETs should be given to EA employees within 14 days of starting employment.
  • If not in the KET, information such as policies on leave and medical benefits can be in the company’s employment handbook or intranet.
  • Written contracts are advised but not legally required.
  • There are no legal requirements on the language of employment contracts, which are generally in English.


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