Skip to main content

Employment Act: who it covers

All employees under a contract of service with an employer are covered, but there are exceptions. For example, Part IV of the Act which provides for rest days, hours of work, annual leave and other conditions of service, does not cover managers or executives.

What is the Employment Act

The Employment Act is Singapore's main labour law. It provides for the basic terms and conditions at work for employees covered by the Act.

Foreign employees holding a work pass are also covered under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, which outlines an employer’s responsibilities and obligations for employing foreigners.

Who is covered by the Act

You are covered if you are an employee working under a contract of service with an employer.

It covers local and foreign employees.

An employee can be employed in the following terms:

  • Full-time
  • Part-time
  • Temporary
  • Contract

An employee can be paid on the following basis:

  • Hourly
  • Daily
  • Monthly
  • Piece-rated
If you work less than 35 hours a week, you are a part-time employee covered by the Employment of Part-Time Employees Regulations.

However, you are not covered if you are employed as a:

  • Manager or executive with monthly basic salary of more than $4,500.
  • Seafarer.
  • Domestic worker.
  • Statutory board employee or civil servant.

Who is covered under Part IV

Part IV of the Employment Act, which provides for rest days, hours of work, annual leave and other conditions of service, only applies to:

  • A workman (doing manual labour) earning a basic monthly salary of not more than $4,500.
  • An employee who is not a workman, but who is covered by the Employment Act and earns a monthly basic salary of not more than $2,500.

Part IV of the Act does not cover all managers or executives.

Note: Basic salary excludes payment of overtime, bonus, annual wage supplement, productivity incentive payment, reimbursement for special expenses and all allowances.

Who is a manager or executive

In general, managers and executives are employees with executive and supervisory functions.

Their duties and authority may include one or all of the following:

  • Influencing or making decisions on issues such as recruitment, discipline, termination of employment, performance assessment and reward.
  • Formulating strategies and policies of the enterprise.
  • Managing and running the business.

They also include professionals with tertiary education and specialised knowledge or skills whose employment terms are like those of managers or executives. For example, lawyers, accountants, dentists and doctors.

Who is a workman

Generally, workman is someone whose work involves mainly manual labour.

This includes someone who falls under any of these categories:

  • Does manual work (including artisans and apprentices, but not seafarers or domestic workers).
  • Operates or maintains commercial vehicles with passengers.
  • Supervises manual workers, but also performs manual work more than half their working time.
  • Has a job specified in the First Schedule of the Employment Act, namely:
    • Cleaner.
    • Construction worker.
    • Labourer.
    • Machine operator and assembler.
    • Metal and machinery worker.
    • Train, bus, lorry and van driver.
    • Train and bus inspector.
    • Workman employed at piece rates at an employer's premises.
Last Updated: 24 August 2015