5 Facts For Those Who Draw A Monthly Paycheck In Singapore

If you have been working in Singapore for a while, some of these information might not come as a surprise for you. But for those who are just joining the workforce after graduation or starting out work in Singapore as a foreign talent, these 5 interesting facts may offer you a glimpse of what to expect at your workplace!

1. Be Nice to your Secretaries, Administrative & Support Staff! 

According to the latest ManpowerGroup’s Talent Shortage Survey 2013, Secretaries, Personal Assistants, Administrative Assistants & Office Support ranks top of the list for Top 10 Most In Demand Jobs In Singapore!

Most In Demand Jobs 2013

From its 8th Talent Shortage Survey, Manpower Singapore found that as the global talent shortage continues to intensify, 47% of employers in Singapore are experiencing difficulty finding staff with the right skills. This is particularly true for positions in Office support, Supervisors and Labourers as compared to Production Operations, Accounting & Finance and Engineers in 2012.

So be nice to them or you will be in for a hard time getting a replacement!

2. Work-Life Balance Is Not Exactly Encouraged

Although the Human Resource Department of many organisations openly embraces Work Life Balance or at worse Work Life Integration, the notion is unfortunately not believed by its management. In fact, three-quarter of Singapore employers believe it is important their employees work over the weekends or after office hours!


Yes, the above was one of the alarming findings obtained from 2 surveys commissioned by JobsCentral. A total of 256 employers and 3,299 employees from all occupational levels and industries participated in the surveys which ran from August to October 2012.

58% maintained it is important their employees remain contactable, regardless of whether they are on vacation. 46% of employers went to emphasize that they would contact their employees who are on leave.

Expecting employees to work beyond normal work hours has become the norm, possibly from cultural issues like equating extra effort to good performance or economic reasons like trying to improve worker productivity. However, highly stressed workers with an unsatisfactory work-life balance are not sustainable in the long term and you can expect to see problems like employee burnout, inefficiencies, and a high turnover rate,” says Michelle Lim, Chief Operating Officer of JobsCentral Group.

Not hard to figure out why we are the most unhappy nation in the world.

3. You Better Have Good Relationships With Your Boss

The same survey also touched on how an employee’s relationship with his or her boss can significantly affect their work experience.

Relationship With Boss

While the majority of Singapore’s work population (69.1%) say that they share a good working relationship with their superiors, those who indicated a lack of satisfaction in their employer-employee relationship (30.9%) experienced significantly greater unhappiness in multiple job aspects such as work demands, autonomy and most importantly lack of advancement opportunities.

Not exactly asking you to butter up your boss for a good bonus but it is always good to establish good relationship especially with your direct superior in Singapore.

4. Avoid Paying Extra Income Tax

Nobody likes to receiving notifications or reminders to file their income tax returns but it’s a ritual that we need to perform in order not to land yourself into more serious non-compliance scenarios.

Avoid Paying Extra Income Tax

Instead of whining and doing a sloppy job, why not take a closer look at IRAS tax reliefs and rebates and see if you are eligible.

Do your homework and you may be pleasantly surprised by the savings!

5. Get Protected! 

If you are drawing above S$4,500 monthly salary, give yourself a pat on the back because you have just made it to the top 20% income earners in the country! Incidentally S$4,500 is also the threshold that covers 50% of all Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs).

Unknown to many PMEs and even Singaporeans, NTUC has set up a Professionals, Managers and Executives (PME) Unit to look after their needs and interests, particularly in the areas of protection, placement and progression as PMEs are a growing segment of Singapore workforce.

Advancing PME Interest

If you are a PME earning up to $4,500 monthly, take note of your protection coverage below, depending on which one of the 3 groups you fall under:

PME union member in company who has a collective agreement (CA) with union

Your union can represent you in 4 areas – unfair dismissal, retrenchment, breach of contract and victimization.

If negotiation between the union and company fails, the dispute will be escalated to MOM.

As a last resort, if MOM mediation fails, the dispute will be escalated to the Industrial Arbitration Court (IAC) who will rule in favour of either your union or company.

Here’s one example.

PME Union member + non-unionized company (no CA with union)

You are eligible for tripartite mediation (MOM, union, company) in 3 areas namely, salary claims, retrenchment and breach of contract.

Non-union member

Without union membership, only MOM can mediate with your company under terms of the Employment Act (EA). However, NTUC has also pushed for better coverage for PMEs who are covered by EA.

Mr Patrick Tay, Director of PME Unit and Legal Services Department of NTUC, who champions for the rights and interests of PMEs in Singapore, shared that from first half 2014, around 300,000 PMEs earning up to $4,500 will receive extra protection under the general provisions of the Employment Act (e.g. unfair dismissal, public holiday and sick leave benefits), instead of only salary claims now.

MOM has released a comparison table of current EA and future EA provisions. To read, please click here.

I hope these information will help you effectively manoeuvre your way through employment in Singapore. Remember to share your personal experiences and thoughts in the comments section below.

3 Comments on this Post

  1. JieTing

    Damn… demoralising article before graduation….

  2. where got protection for pme in singapore. crap

  3. KavBella

    work life in Singapore ok. Worse in India


Leave a Comment