Operating a Business

flag Singapore Singapore: Operating a Business

In this page: Legal Forms of Companies | The Active Population in Figures | Working Conditions | The Cost of Labour | Management of Human Resources


Legal Forms of Companies

Private limited company
Number of partners: Minimum 1, maximum 50.
Capital (max/min): SGD 1
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the amount of guarantees
Public limited company
Number of partners: Minimum 50 shareholder.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital required.
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the portion of the company’s share capital taken up.
Public limited company by guarantee
Number of partners: Minimum 3 shareholders.
Capital (max/min): Minimum SGD 1.
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the amount contributed.
Limited Partnership
Number of partners: Minimum 2 partners with a maximum of 20. At least one general partner and one limited partner.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital required.
Shareholders and liability: At least one person has an unlimited liability (active partner). Sleeping partners' liability is limited to the amount they contributed.
Sole Proprietorship
Number of partners: 1 person.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital required.
Shareholders and liability: Liability is unlimited.

Business Setup Procedures

Setting Up a Company Singapore East Asia & Pacific
Procedures (number) 2.00 7.25
Time (days) 1.50 29.73

Source: The World Bank - Doing Business, Latest data available.

The Competent Organisation
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore.
For Further Information
Consult the Doing Business Website, to know about procedures to start a Business in Singapore.
Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority

Financial Information Directories

ACRA Register - Directory of registered entities on the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority

Dun & Bradstreet - Worldwide directory with financial information on businesses


Recovery Procedures

As a company declares bankruptcy, an Official Assignee takes over to manage the process.
The bankrupt would be subject to several restrictions, one of which is that he/she may not travel out of the country without the Official Assignee's permission.
The bankrupt would also be automatically disqualified from acting as a Director of a company or from taking part in the management of a business, whether directly or indirectly.
Certain provisions in the Bankruptcy Act may be invoked to “claw back” assets given away or transferred by the bankrupt within qualifying periods before his/her bankruptcy. The assets clawed back would be used to repay creditors.
Provisions may seem less severe for foreign companies, since they are not required to guarantee debt in the original registration. A company may be reorganized through a scheme or arrangement, or by applying to the court for an order for the company to be placed in judicial management.
For more details, visit: Insolvency and Public Trustee' Office (PTO Online)
Minimum Debt-to-Capital Ratio Triggering Liquidation
There is no minimum debt-to-capital ratio that triggers recapitalization or liquidation. In many cases, however, foreign shareholders recapitalize in order to continue business or liquidate in order to withdraw business without dispute with local creditors.
Bankruptcy Laws
Read the Bankruptcy Act
Reorganization and Rehabilitation Laws
A company can be re-organized after applying to the court for judicial management. For more details, consult Bankruptcy Law.

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The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 3,493,6033,525,6653,472,519

Source: International Labour Organization - ILOSTAT, Latest data available.

Total activity rate 77.02%77.02%77.42%
Men activity rate 83.95%83.70%84.17%
Women activity rate 69.08%69.39%69.72%

Source: International Labour Organization - ILOSTAT, Latest data available.

For Further Statistics
Ministry of Manpower
For Further Information About the Labour Market
Statistics, Labour, Employment and Wages

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Working Conditions

Opening Hours
  • Legal Weekly Duration
8 hours per day and 40 hours per week with one-hour lunch break.
  • Maximum Duration
44 hours
  • Night Hours
11 pm – 7 am
Working Rest Day
As per the Employment Act, an employee is entitled to a rest day comprising one whole day (midnight to midnight) every week. The rest day can be on a Sunday or any other day.
Paid Annual Vacation
The Employment Act specifies that all workers are entitled to seven days of paid annual vacation during their first year of service and an additional day of paid leave for every year after that. This implies a maximum of 14 extra days, or 21 days total.
Retirement Age
62 years
Child Labour and Minimum Age For Employment
Employment Act prohibits the employment of children under the age of 12.
Informal Labour Market
Because of a higher demand for foreigners working in Singapore, a huge informal sector of illegal foreign workers exists in the country.

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The Cost of Labour


Minimum Wage
As a matter of national policy, the Ministry of Manpower does not prescribe minimum wages.
Average Wage
According to data from the Ministry of Manpower, the average monthly wage for full-time resident employees was SGD 4,680 in 2021.
Other Forms of Pay
  • Pay For Overtime
1,5 times the normal hourly rate.
  • Pay For Rest Days Worked
Twice the normal hourly rate.

Social Security Costs

The Areas Covered
The Central Provident Fund (CPF) covers retirement, housing and healthcare.
Contributions Paid By the Employer: Employers contribute up to 17%, capped at a maximum average monthly salary of SGD 6,000 (contributions are payable by Singapore citizens and permanent residents only).
Reduced rates apply for employees who are earning less than SGD 750 per month as well as for those above 55 years of age.
Contributions Paid By the Employee: Only employees who are Singaporean citizens or permanent residents must contribute 20% income to the CPF, with graduated rates available for the first three years of an employee's permanent residency.
Competent Organization
Singapore Provident Fund Board

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Management of Human Resources



Method of Recruitment
Advertising, educational institutions, direct recruitment.
Recruitment Agencies
Employment Agencies (Private), Labor Contractors (Private).
Recruitment Websites
Singapore Jobs Directory

The Contract

Type of Contract
The nature of the contract depends on the type of contract, which could include the following: annual hours contract, casual workers contract, fixed-term contract, home-workers contract, job sharing contract, flexi-time contract, part-timers contract, self-employed workers contract.

Breach of Contracts

  • Retirement
It can take several forms: general resignation, resignation for one's own convenience, resignation by agreement, resignation by employee's request, voluntary retirement, etc. The retirement age is 62 years and a company cannot ask the employee to retire before that age. Employees who turn 62 can continue to be employed in the organisation if they meet the eligibility criteria for re-employment.
  • Dismissals
Employment laws in Singapore are flexible, and allow for relatively free hiring and firing practices. Either party can terminate employment by giving the other party the required notice which is governed by Employment Act.
  • Other Possible Methods
Collective dismissals due to economic reasons, disciplinary dismissals, resignation as per the terms of contract.
Labour Laws
Law in Singapore
LawNet - Singapore Academy of Law
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the labour regulations that apply to local entreprises.

Dispute Settlement


Conciliation Process

Cases of Dispute
Singapore enjoys a peaceful and productive industrial climate.
  • Legal Framework
The Conciliation Section of the Labor Relations Department of the Ministry of Manpower Singapore is responsible for the mediation or conciliation of labor disputes. If mediation efforts fail, the dispute is referred to the Industrial Arbitration Court.
  • Procedure
A dispute can be referred to the Industrial Arbitration Court if efforts to resolve the dispute through discussion and negotiation between the parties and with the conciliation of the Ministry of Manpower have failed. For more information about the process, visit the IAC website.

Social Partners

Employer Associations
SNEF - Singapore National Employers Federation
SICC - Singapore International Chamber of Commerce 
SNEF - Singapore National Employers Federation
SBF - Singapore Business Federation
Social Dialogue and Involvement of Social Partners
Trade Union Act does not allow the unionisation of government employees and uniformed personnel. The act also restricts the Trade Unions' right to select the leader and whom to employ.

Most of the Trade Unions are part of National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) which is closely associated with the government. The government grants renewable licences to trade unions on a yearly basis and strictly controls them.

Unionisation Rate
Labour Unions
National Trade Union Congress (NTUC)
Regulation Bodies
Ministry of Manpower
Singapore National Employers' Federation (SNEF)

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Latest Update: July 2024