10 Facts About Salary in S’pore You Probably Didn’t Know Of

Last Updated on 2022-09-18 , 7:01 pm

Ever wondered what rights you have regarding your salary?

I do not have the secret power to make the numbers grow, but I do have some handy tips that you should totally keep at the back of your mind.

Now, if you’re one who prefer to watch instead of read, here’s a video we’ve done for this topic (and don’t so ngeow lah, also subscribe to our YouTube channel leh):

If, for some reason you’ll rather read (coz the host and actors are too ugly, we know), well, read on.

Here’re ten facts about your salary that you really should know:

1.Salary must be paid at least once a month

I’m not sure who made this the ‘norm’, but salary can be paid in different time intervals, and not just on a monthly basis.

You can be paid bi-weekly, weekly, or even daily.

But somehow it has become ‘the standard’ to be paid monthly (at least for full-time jobs).

However, the maximum interval is a month, which means that companies cannot extend beyond that period.

It kinda makes sense, since bills come every month, but it won’t hurt if salary is given every week. Or every day. Right?

2.Your salary can only be late for a maximum of 7 days

If somehow your company is unable to pay you your well-deserved pay, they can only extend the payment for up to 7 days after a month has passed by since your last drawn salary.

So for example, if you received your last pay on 1 Jan, your next pay should be paid by 8 Feb (note that it should be 1 Feb lah, but the latest is 8 Feb).

For OT pay, that’ll be 14 days.

Which means your OT pay should enter your wallet by 15 Feb.

If your boss keeps on telling you “next week, next week okay”, they’re committing an offence.

3.If payment is by cheque, it’s only considered paid if you see the money in your bank account

If you think that you’re paid when you receive a cheque, you’re mistaken.

Let me correct this misconception that most people have.

You’re only considered paid, according to the law, when the money is in your bank account.

This is because your cheque may suey suey kena bounce.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you ah!

The solution? Go bank the cheque the moment you receive it, even if you live in Jurong and the closest bank is in Changi (though that isn’t possible). Let the HR know if it bounces – especially if it’s a small company when cashflow is often tight.

4.Company still do stunt? You can file a claim for mediation

When the company still hasn’t paid you after the maximum extension, you can file a claim.

Now, before that, talk to your union first if you’re a union member (e.g. NTUC Union). They should be able to assist you to file a claim if needed, or talk to the company on your behalf.

If not, you can file a claim yourself with this link.

But as your friendly neighbourhood writer, I would suggest you talk to your company first. Put that as the last resort.

Just like how in kdramas the lawyers have that confident smirk, you’ll have higher chances of getting the claim (and most probably lose your job, but hey, you seriously still want to work there?) if you have all the supporting key documents.

But if the company is going through bankruptcy…then GG.

You should have left when you first knew about it.

If you’re still working for them, then you can only file a claim from the liquidator. Or to be specific, the “Insolvency and Public Trustee’s Office (IPTO) or the appointed judicial manager, receiver or liquidator.”

Then again, give and take lah; pretty sure it’s already stressful for the management when they’re going through this.

5.Employer cannot suka suka deduct your salary

If you’re the kind that always report to work one or two minutes late, please make sure both you and your boss know about this.

Your pay can only be deducted by the amount that you’re late for.

If you’re late for an hour, only one hour’s pay can be deducted. They cannot suka suka just deduct any moment they deem fit.

And this is equally important: the maximum amount that’s deductible is 50% of your pay.

So if you earn $100 and your boss decides to deduct $80, he/she is crossing the line.

Also, there’s a limit to what’s deductible, and the list can be found online.

But don’t try to report to work as and when you like because of this ‘safety net’; you’ll end up not only receiving no pay, but also losing your job!

6.Salary must be paid in cash, and not anything else

In this day and age where employers look for “experienced” workers, it might be no surprise to hear of youngsters applying for low-paying but portfolio-perfect jobs.

More often than not, these jobs may not offer a desirable pay at all. Instead, they’ll justify that it’s paid through the “experience” and “exposure”.

If this happens with the freelancers, it’s no surprise if it happens in the corporate world too!

But according to the Employment Act, salary must be paid in legal tender (read:money).

So don’t be so thirsty for the “experience” and accept everything!

7.OT Pay: The simplified version

Admit it, we all worry about our OT pay.

The company doesn’t really tell you how much they’ll be paying if you decide to work over time, so it’s like a mystery that you’ve to work out on your own.

Usually, an employment contract would cover that, but there’s just this gray area on whether one is entitled to it or not.

Well, fret not, cos here’s a simple breakdown of the different types of “workers” and their entitlement to OT for you:

  • Manager/Executive: No OT pay
  • Workman (manual labour): Entitled to OT pay if pay is below $4,500 a month
  • Non-workman (i.e. usual office worker): Entitled to OT pay if pay is below $2,500 a month

So, for easy reference, here’s what you need to know: if you’re in a high position, you most likely won’t have OT pay. If you do a job that requires a lot of labour, you most likely are entitled to OT pay than a person who does office work.

There’s a lot more to it, so go online and check it out!

If this is still too chim and you haven’t watched our video, below is the video again. Watch it and you most likely would have a better understanding (clickbait level 99, no?):

But here’s a disclaimer: give and take lah. If your boss doesn’t KPKB when you come in late for thirty minutes yesterday, why do you KPKB when you have to work late for thirty minutes today?

8.You should be paid for attending courses outside working hours 

This is the second biggest mystery for those that kena before.

Am I supposed to get paid if I attend a course for work after office hours?


You should be paid based on your hourly rate.

If you work 8 hours and earn $80 a day, your hourly pay is $10.

If your course takes up to 9 hours after office hours, the company will have to pay you $90.

So next time your company sends you to attend a course that you hate, just take it easy: you’re supposed to get paid anyway!

Note that this is allowance, and not salary.

That means there’s no CPF deduction!

Not sure if you should be happy or sad about it.

9.If you’re made to work during public holidays, you get extra pay

If you’ve encountered those days whereby you’ve planned to sleep in but then got called back to the office…you’re not alone.

(tries to put on a nice smile while walking into the office)

You’re supposed to be paid on this day too!

You can either get one day’s extra pay or one day’s off.

Also, if your working hours is eight hours and you work beyond that, you’re technically entitled to OT pay.

Provided that you work working hours, that is.

10.Intern allowances are protected under the Employment Act

If you’ve just finished your studies and is doing an internship, don’t fall for that “experience” crap.

Some companies will use that excuse to tie you down to do extra work.

If you do OT during your internship,you’re also entitled to get OT allowance!

It should be calculated based on your hourly rate.

If you’re too shy and scared that you’ll lose your position, just remember that you’re also protected under the Employment Act.

So don’t go all out just for the position and accept whatever is given to you!

Featured Image: ProStockStudio / Shutterstock.com