Singapore’s Employment and Labour Laws

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Why is it important to know the law?


Foreign talent and workers of all kinds are drawn to cosmopolitan cities like Singapore for employment because of the high standards of work and quality working conditions available. 

Singapore-based organisations therefore must take the time to understand the regulations that govern all employers and employees who work in Singapore to ensure that they hire and operate legally, and can continue to enjoy the benefits of business in the country.

SG labour laws cover everything from legal working hours and salary ranges for various roles or types of work, to hiring guidelines and work pass or visa application requirements, especially for foreigners.

In addition to the laws in place, the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the government body in charge of labour and employment, also encourages all employers to have Contracts of Employment for all their workers. This adds greater security for both parties, as it delineates in more specific detail the obligations of each party to the other.

Employers who are found to be in infringement of the law in Singapore will bear the associated penalties and consequences. It is important to note that the MOM holds the employer - and not the employee or potential employee - responsible for fees and levies that may be incurred through incorrect or incomplete work pass applications and subsequent employment conditions in Singapore.

The Employment Act

The Employment Act is Singapore’s main labour law. This law lays out the terms and conditions that govern employees of different kinds in Singapore. The law also has certain exceptions, that is, types of employees that it does not cover; these exceptions are covered in other laws (more on this below).

The Employment Act contains the following key information:

Who it Covers

  • The types of employees it protects - this includes full-time, part-time, temporary, and contract workers
  • Types of employees it does not cover - this includes seafarers, domestic workers, statutory board employees, and civil servants
  • The difference between “managers” or “executives” and “workmen” - this is important because certain portions of the act apply only to workmen, and not managers or executives

Guidelines on Employment

  • Contracts of Services
  • Payments and Salaries
  • Hours of Work, Rest Days, and Other Conditions of Service
  • Modes of Payment to Employees, or the “Truck System”
  • Employment of Contractors, Part-time Employees, Domestic Workers, and Employment of Children and Young Persons
  • Protections for Maternity and Childcare Leave
  • Holidays
  • Employee records & documentary requirements
  • Inspection and Enquiry
  • Complains, Claims, Penalties and other Regulations

Access and read the full law here.

Work Passes and Permits for Non-Local Employees

When it comes to foreign workers, employers are responsible for more than just their work set-up once they arrive in Singapore. Even before they arrive in the country, employers must apply for and secure a work pass or work permit for them. This pass or permit is their employment visa - the legal document that allows them to work in Singapore. 

  • Work Passes are issued to skilled workers who meet a particular minimum salary, as well as higher-tier workers such as managers, executives, and professionals. The Employment Pass, E Pass, or EP is a common type of work pass for managerial-level hires. Another common type of work pass is the S Pass, usually for foreign skilled workers who meet necessary eligibility criteria.
  • Work permits on the other hand are issued to skilled and semi-skilled workers. Work Permits allow such foreign workers from a pre-approved list of countries to work in certain industries in Singapore, including construction, manufacturing, services, processing, and shipping.

For businesses that seek to hire and employ foreign workers through an Employment Pass in particular, let Veremark assist you. EP applications require that the applicants’ educational background and credentials be verified by accredited partners such as Veremark. 

Contact us to learn more about our MOM education verification package that offers many advantages to employers looking to hire for Singapore operations in compliance with local law.

The Employment of Foreign Manpower Act

For these work pass or permit holders, it is the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) that regulates and protects their well-being. This act prescribes key obligations and responsibilities of employers for their non-local employees:

Who it Covers

The EFMA covers organizations who employ foreign workers, and any person holding a legal work pass or work permit by the MOM.

Guidelines on Employing Foreign Workers

Work Passes and Permits

  • Applications
  • Medical Insurance
  • Levies
  • Cancellations and Repatriations

Specific requirements covering the following areas for foreign employees who are covered by the Employment Act:

  • Salary
  • Hours of work, overtime and rest days
  • Public holidays
  • Annual and sick leaves

Common EFMA Offences and Penalties

Access and read the full act here. This act also includes the EFMA Work Pass Regulations, and some amendments to the law in 2012, the summary of which can be accessed here.


As an employer in Singapore, you are responsible for compliant hiring and working conditions for all your hired workers, local and foreign. 

Ensure that your organisation understands the necessary requirements to apply for work passes or permits, as well as legally employ workers at various levels within Singapore in compliance with the Ministry of Manpower’s regulations.

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Popular Packages


What is an Employment Pass?

An Employment Pass or EP is a type of work visa specifically for foreign professionals, managers, and executives who earn at least $5,000 monthly and have passed the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS).

How can Veremark help with an Employment Pass application?

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has a strict system in place to ensure the authenticity of the applicant’s qualifications. Veremark is a MOM-accredited background screening agency that can provide the verification proofs - such as education verification and institution accreditation checks, needed to apply for Employment Pass.

What is an S Pass in Singapore?

An S Pass is a work visa granted by the Ministry of Manpower to foreign skilled workers in Singapore. The eligibility criteria include having a job offer and a fixed monthly salary of at least $3,150.

How can Veremark help with your S Pass application?

The Ministry of Manpower requires applicants and employers to supply verification proof if the awarding institution for the qualification is NOT in the drop-down list. For S Pass, MOM only accepts verification proofs from accredited background screening platforms. 

Veremark is MOM-accredited to verify the candidate's education qualifications and the accreditation status of the awarding institution. 


What background check do I need?

This depends on the industry and type of role you are recruiting for. To determine whether you need reference checks, identity checks, bankruptcy checks, civil background checks, credit checks for employment or any of the other background checks we offer, chat to our team of dedicated account managers.

Why should employers check the background of potential employees?

Many industries have compliance-related employment check requirements. And even if your industry doesn’t, remember that your staff have access to assets and data that must be protected. When you employ a new staff member you need to be certain that they have the best interests of your business at heart. Carrying out comprehensive background checking helps mitigate risk and ensures a safer hiring decision.

How long do background checks take?

Again, this depends on the type of checks you need. Simple identity checks can be carried out in as little as a few hours but a worldwide criminal background check for instance might take several weeks. A simple pre-employment check package takes around a week. Our account managers are specialists and can provide detailed information into which checks you need and how long they will take.

Can you do a background check online?

All Veremark checks are carried out online and digitally. This eliminates the need to collect, store and manage paper documents and information making the process faster, more efficient and ensures complete safety of candidate data and documents.

What are the benefits of a background check?

In a competitive marketplace, making the right hiring decisions is key to the success of your company. Employment background checks enables you to understand more about your candidates before making crucial decisions which can have either beneficial or catastrophic effects on your business.

What does a background check show?

Background checks not only provide useful insights into a candidate’s work history, skills and education, but they can also offer richer detail into someone’s personality and character traits. This gives you a huge advantage when considering who to hire. Background checking also ensures that candidates are legally allowed to carry out certain roles, failed criminal and credit checks could prevent them from working with vulnerable people or in a financial function.

Transform your hiring process

Request a discovery session with one of our background screening experts today.

MOM education verification: a guide for all employers

A guide for all employers in Singapore

Singapore’s booming economy entices thousands of overseas professionals to its shores every year. Its role as the financial hub in Asia, and its ability to weather the storms of the global financial crisis and the COVID pandemic has seen its popularity rise.

Regarded as a safe country, with a stable economy and no foreign debt - Singapore is prosperous, peaceful, and innovative. Widely regarded as an attractive place to work, almost half the population of the island are immigrants.

With this influx of talent, the country has had to make adjustments to the way it accepts new workers from abroad. In this guide we’ll explore the rise of Singapore as a desirable place to live and work, the problems it has faced with this rise in interest from international visitors, and new regulations that all employers in Singapore need to know about.

This guide explores:

- Singapore's foreign worker problem and the rise of diploma fraud

- The requirements needed to work in Singapore as a employee from overseas

- The new regulations introduced by Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM)

- Third-party verification on education credentials

- New two-stage eligibility framework (Salary + COMPASS)

- MOM's collaboration with Veremark

Get your own copy!