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Demystifying Overtime Pay: A Definitive Guide for Employees in Singapore

Understanding overtime pay is important for employees who often find themselves working beyond their normal hours. In this guide, we delve into how overtime pay works, who is qualified to get overtime pay, and the legal framework that governs this entitlement to help you stay well-informed about your rights.


Understanding overtime pay


In Singapore, “overtime work” is defined as any work exceeding the usual hours of work—not including breaks. When you work more than 8 hours a day or 44 hours a week, those extra hours are considered overtime.


Employers are required to pay you 1.5 times your hourly basic rate for any overtime you perform. The law caps the amount of overtime: you shouldn't work more than 12 hours a day, and your overtime shouldn't exceed 72 hours in a month.


How is overtime pay calculated in Singapore?


For detailed calculations tailored to your situation, use this overtime pay calculator by the Ministry of Manpower.


Who is entitled to overtime pay?


Not everyone is eligible for overtime pay. Under the Employment Act, only the following types of workers can claim overtime pay:


  • Non-workmen with a basic monthly salary of no more than $2,600  Workmen earn up to $4,500 a month.


Note that managers and executives do NOT qualify for overtime compensation.


Who is considered a workman?


A workman typically performs manual labour and includes categories like artisans, apprentices, commercial vehicle operators, and those supervising manual workers but also engaging in manual work more than half the time.


Who is a non-workman?


Non-workmen, whose overtime rate is capped at a salary level of $2,600 or an hourly rate of $13.60, also qualify for overtime pay for work beyond their contractual hours.


Maximum hours of work


As mentioned, you legally cannot be made to work more than 12 hours a day. However, exceptions allow for longer hours in specific scenarios such as emergencies, essential community services, urgent machinery work, or unforeseen work interruptions.


Employers must seek an overtime exemption to require more than the standard hours, with a strict limit of 72 overtime hours per month.


Overtime on rest days and public holidays


Overtime work on rest days or public holidays includes additional calculations for rest day or public holiday pay on top of the 1.5 times hourly rate for overtime hours worked.


Information for employers


Overtime allows companies to respond to sudden surges in demand, unforeseen challenges, or tight deadlines. Compared to hiring temporary workers, overtime can be a more cost-effective option for short-term needs.


However, manually keeping track of individual employee hours, pay rates, and overtime eligibility can be time-consuming and error-prone—especially for larger companies. Adhering to all legal requirements regarding overtime can also be complex and require careful monitoring. Any inaccuracy in calculations or lack of clarity in policies can result in employee disputes and potential audits from regulatory bodies.


How to manage overtime pay using technology


Accurately managing and processing overtime can be challenging without the right tools. If you’re still using manual methods, it’s time to embrace technology.


Adaptive Pay introduces an efficient solution with its Rostering and Attendance Tracking module. This system automates overtime calculations along with public holidays and off days, integrating data directly into the Payroll module. It enables employers to configure multiple overtime schedules and shifts according to their specific operational needs. It also offers easy rostering features to simplify administration.


Ready to streamline your overtime management process? Adaptive Pay can greatly reduce the complexity to ensure accuracy and help you comply with labour laws. Book a demo today to see how it works.




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