Finance & Compliance

Demystifying Working Hours in Singapore: A Guide for Employers

Winnie Lu

Apr 26, 2024

Singapore's reputation for hustle is well-deserved. But with great productivity comes the responsibility of ensuring fair work practices. As an employer, navigating the legalities of working hours can feel overwhelming. Fear not! This handy guide unravels everything you need to know about working hours in Singapore, keeping you on the right side of the law and your employees feeling valued.

Understanding Normal Working Hours in Singapore

Let's clear up the most common question: what constitutes a "normal" workday in Singapore? The answer depends on your employee's work schedule:

  • 5-day or less per week: Here, the standard working hours are capped at 9 hours per day or a total of 44 hours per week. Think of it like a marathon, not a sprint!
  • More than 5-day per week: If your employees work beyond five days, the daily limit drops to 8 hours, maintaining the same 44-hour weekly maximum.

Key Takeaway: It's all about balance. Regardless of the schedule, the total working hours shouldn't exceed 44 per week.

Demystifying Maximum Working Hours

While 44 hours is the standard, there are situations where employees might go the extra mile. Here's what you need to know about those extra hours.

Source: Enikő Tóth

Shift Work Explained: Working Hours in Singapore

Some industries rely on shift workers, whose schedules might extend beyond the typical 8 or 9-hour workday. Here's how working hours are calculated for shift employees:

  • Less than 44 hours every other week: This allows for a maximum of 48 hours in a single week, but not exceeding 88 hours over two consecutive weeks. Think of it like a seesaw – you can go higher one week, but the average over two weeks needs to stay below 44 hours to prevent burnout. For example, if an employee works 47 hours this week, they can work a maximum of 41 hours the next to maintain the 44-hour average.
  • Up to 12 hours per day: In special situations, like urgent repairs, employees can work up to 12 hours a day. But remember, the 3-week average rule still applies. The total working hours over three weeks must still average out to 44 hours per week.

Extending Work Hours for Non-Shift Workers? Follow These Steps!

While the standard workday is 8 or 9 hours, some situations might require longer hours. If an employee who usually works a fixed schedule agrees to work up to 12 hours a day, here's what you, as the employer, need to do:

  1. Get it in Writing: Make sure you have written consent from the employee agreeing to the extended hours. This protects both parties and ensures everyone's on the same page.
  2. Explain the Rules: Brief the employee about the relevant sections of the Employment Act (particularly Sections 38 and 40). This covers things like overtime pay and ensures they understand their rights. (Here’s a Comprehensive Guide to Calculate Overtime Pay in Singapore)
  3. Transparency is Key: Clearly communicate the employee's new daily working hours, the number of days they'll be working each week, and their designated rest day. This helps them plan their schedules effectively.

Remember: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) enforces these regulations to protect your employees' well-being.

What about Lunch Break?

Great question! Singapore's mandated 45-minute daily meal break and weekly rest day (often Sundays) apply to employees earning less than SGD 2,600 monthly (excluding any overtime payment, bonus payment, annual wage supplement, productivity incentive payment and any allowance however described).

For managers, executives, and higher earners, break rights are outlined in their employment contracts. Ensure clear communication and fair practices to keep everyone happy!

Source: Thiago Patrevita

Calculating Hourly Pay for Part-Timers

Part-time employees are the backbone of many businesses. Here's how to ensure their pay reflects the hours they work:

  1. Divide their monthly salary by the total agreed-upon working hours per month. This gives you their hourly rate.
  2. Track their actual working hours meticulously. Use time cards, online portals, or a reliable attendance tracking software to avoid any discrepancies.
  3. Multiply their hourly rate by the total number of hours worked. This equals their monthly pay (don't forget to factor in any bonuses or allowances!).

Remember: There's no minimum wage in Singapore, but fairness is key. Ensure your part-timers receive competitive pay that reflects their contribution.

The Importance of Rest Days in Singapore

Singapore places a high value on work-life balance, and rest days are a crucial part of that equation. Here's what you need to know:

Bonus Tip: Consider offering additional rest days or flexible work arrangements to boost employee satisfaction and reduce burnout.


Understanding working hours in Singapore doesn't have to be a headache. By following these guidelines and staying informed about MOM regulations, you can ensure a happy and productive work environment for your employees. Remember, a well-rested and fairly compensated workforce is a recipe for long-term success!

Track Working Hours and Run Payroll Seamlessly with Swingvy!

Feeling swamped with manual timesheets and payroll calculations? Swingvy's Time & Payroll module streamlines the process!  Say goodbye to errors and hello to efficiency. Track employee hours effortlessly, automate overtime calculations, and ensure seamless payroll processing. Swingvy keeps you compliant and your employees happy – all in one user-friendly platform. Free yourself from administrative burdens and focus on what matters most – running your business!

Learn More about Swingvy Leave management software


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