Mandatory employee benefits in Singapore include the Central Provident Fund, annual leave, maternity/paternity pay, sick leave, and childcare leave. Common supplemental benefits include a mobile phone allowance, season parking, voluntary benefits, flexible spending dollars, gym memberships, study benefits, life assurance, medical insurance, work injury compensation, dental insurance and an employee assistance program. Employee perks include wellness benefits, additional paid leave, educational support and taxi reimbursements.
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Mandatory employee benefits in Singapore
Central Provident Fund (CPF)
- This is a mandatory benefit in Singapore for Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Permanent Residents (PRs) and it is subject to legislation. Employers must comply with this legislation and auto enroll eligible employees in their monthly Central Provident Fund (CPF) declarations.
- Currently, the contributions of the employee and an employer depend on the age and income of the employee. Only the first $6,000 of monthly wages are taken into consideration for the computation of CPF contributions. The contribution levels for those aged below 55, earning above $750 per month, is 37% of the basic monthly wage (employer contribution 17%, employee contribution 20%). This is the highest contribution bracket. The contribution levels for those earning less than $750 per month and/or age 55 and above, are lower.
- On January 1, 2021 CPF contribution increases begin. Currently, 37% is applicable up to age 55, however that will be extended to 60. Today, those aged 55 to 60 have a 26.5% contribution level (combined), those aged 60 to 65 contribute 16.5%, and a contribution level of 12.5% for those above 65. All these brackets will move upwards over time. By 2030, the full CPF rate will be applicable for those age 55 – 60. This article explains the changes.
- During the core income earning years, the CPF contributions will be divided into 3 accounts, Ordinary account (to fund housing and retirement), Special (to fund retirement), Medisave (to fund basic healthcare). Once someone reaches 55, the Retirement Account is introduced.
- The statutory retirement age is 62, however employers are encouraged to offer re-employment up to the age of 67.
- All employees are legally entitled to seven days of annual leave. It is common for employers to offer a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 28 days of leave.
- When an employee is pregnant, they are entitled to maternity leave benefits.
- As part of the Employment Act, employees are entitled to a minimum of 14 days of outpatient leave and 60 days of hospitalization leave.
- Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) are entitled to six days of childcare leave for children below the age of seven. The first three days are employer sponsored and days four to six are government sponsored up to a cap of $500 a day, including CPF contributions. As the first three days are employer sponsored, companies would typically offer at least 3 days to foreigners.
Supplemental employee benefits in Singapore
Mobile Phone Allowance
- With the growing trend of employees using their personal mobile devices for work (BYOD), employers are increasingly offering a mobile phone allowance.
- It is common for members of the senior management team to be offered company sponsored parking at the location of the office.
- Larger employers will often provide employees with a range of voluntary benefits that can be provided at discounted prices through the employer.
Flexible Spending Dollars
- Large employers offer flexible spending dollars where employees are provided with a flexible spending budget to use for a wide range of items, from health screening to holidays.
- Some of the larger employers and those seeking to attract the millennial generation will provide discounted membership to employees.
- Singapore is actively trying to encourage her workforce to constantly upgrade her skills and retrain if necessary.
- Life Assurance is the second most common non-mandatory benefit in Singapore. Premiums vary according to ages, occupations, and locations. Costs are typically 0.1 to 0.5% the sum insured.
- Costs will vary based on census data and benefit design. The typical annual premiums range for a single employee between S$700 to $1,500 for restrictive plans (GP, specialist, hospitalization) and S$3500 and above for comprehensive plans.
- It is socially unacceptable to apply a deductible on a medical plan, however co-payment options on outpatient benefits are becoming increasingly common in view of healthcare costs.
Work Injury Compensation
- While it is not mandatory to cover all employees Work Injury compensation, most employers would cover it any way as they carry the legal liability.
- Dental benefits are commonly provided by Multinational Corporations (MNC). With the ongoing battle for talent, small to medium enterprises (SME) have started providing this benefit to attract the necessary talent.
Employee Assistance Program
- EAP is usually included in an international medical plan. There was very little importance provided in this respect until recently.
Employee Perks in Singapore
Holidays, gym memberships and other wellness benefits
- While the benefits can easily be replaced with a higher salary, providing them as benefits often illustrates to employees the dynamic nature of the organization.
- The millennials take this in serious consideration when accepting a job offer. The mandatory leave is seven days annually, however most companies start at 14 days. The trend is moving towards 16 to 18 days as a base leave requirement.
Subsidized Gym Memberships
- Although some large employers may have gym facilities onsite, most partner with a local gym or offer discounted gym membership through a third-party benefits vendor.
- Financial assistance may be provided towards the cost of job-related qualifications as well as additional paid study/leave days. It is quite common to award the day of the exam and the day before the exam as study leave days.
Onsite Wellness Initiatives
- Includes massages, mindfulness classes, fitness, and cooking demonstrations. Insurers may arrange these for larger employers.
- Onsite financial education for employees, particularly around the importance of adequate retirement planning.
Taxi and dinner reimbursements
- Work hours can be pretty long in Singapore and it is quite usual for employers to reimburse the costs of dinner and transport when an employee works more than three hours of overtime on a given day. Overtime pay is not mandatory for employees earning less than $2,500 per month.
- Family day, annual dinner and dance, dine with family (employees leave 1 to 2 hours early)