Employment Rules and Regulations to Note When Implementing Flexible Work Arrangements

When designing Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs), it is important for employers to understand their obligations under the employment legislations.
Please visit the Ministry of Manpower website for more details.

Employment Act (EA)

Refer to the Ministry of Manpower website for more information on calculation of overtime and public holiday pay, pro-ration of benefits, etc.

WORKING HOURS
  • The contractual working hours should not exceed 8 hours in a day or 44 hours in a week. However, flexibility can be exercised for the following circumstances, and such variations should be stated clearly in the employment contract:
    • If the employee works less than 8 hours on 1 or more days in a week (i.e. on flexible hours arrangement), he/she can work up to 9 hours in a day but the total working hours in a week is still capped at 44;
    • If the employee works 5 days or less in a week (e.g. shifting from a 6-day to 5-day work week), he/she can work up to 9 hours in a day but the total working hours in a week is still capped at 44;
    • If the employee works less than 44 hours every alternative week, he/she can work more than 44 hours in the other week. This arrangement must be stated in the employment contract, and is subject to a cap of 48 hours in 1 week or 88 hours in any continuous 2-week period;
    • If the employee works in shift, he/she can work up to 12 hours in a day, provided that the average working hours each week are capped at 44 when computed over a continuous 3-week period;
    • If the employee works consecutively for 8 hours or more, the duration in which he/she works must include a break of at least 45 minutes during which he/she will have the opportunity to have a meal.
PART-TIME WORK (less than 35 hours a week)
  • The part-time employee’s employment contract must specify his/her:
    • hourly basic rate of pay;
    • number of working hours for 1 day or 1 week;
    • number of working days for 1 week or 1 month; and
    • hourly gross rate of pay, with the description and amount of each allowance payable separately itemised.
  • If the part-time employee works for at least 5 days in a week, he/she is entitled to 1 rest day per week.
  • The part-time employee who has completed 3 months of service is entitled to the following:
    • paid public holidays;
    • paid annual leave; and
    • paid sick leave.
    The above-mentioned benefits can be pro-rated based on the employee’s working hours, using the yearly entitlement of a similar full-time employee as the benchmark.
  • The part-time employee is entitled to the same maternity benefits and protection as a full-time employee.
OVERTIME
  • Overtime allowance is payable if the working hours exceed an average of 44 hours/week. The employee must be paid no less than 1.5 times his/her hourly basic rate of pay for overtime.
  • The part-time employee should also be paid for overtime work.
    • For work that exceeds the part-time employee's normal daily working hours but not the normal hours of work of a similar full-time employee, payment should be at the part-time employee's basic hourly rate of pay;
    • For work that exceeds the normal hours of work of a similar full-time employee, payment should be at 1.5 times the part-time employee's basic hourly rate of pay.
Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSHA)
  • Employers must ensure the safety and health of their employees at work, subject to practicability and degree of control over the place of work.
  • Other than conducting risk assessments of the workplace, employers are encouraged to exercise due diligence and take additional measures to mitigate the risks such as refining relevant policies like insurance coverage or home working rules and regulations, communicating safe working procedures to employees, etc.
Workplace Injury Compensation Act (WICA)
  • Employers could be liable for claims for injuries sustained in the course of work and due to work, including instances where work was conducted outside the official work location (e.g. overseas work trips).

Excerpted from the Tripartite Advisory on Flexible Work Arrangements.