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Breaks, Overtime and Rest Days in (Singapore)
Breaks, Overtime and Rest Days in (Singapore)

Entitlement to breaks, overtime pay and rest days for employees in Singapore

Nicholas avatar
Written by Nicholas
Updated over a week ago

An employee covered under Part IV of the Employment Act is entitled to breaks, overtime pay and rest days. This does not extend to executives and managers.

A break is required once an employee performs continuous work for more than 6 hours. If continuous work is required for 8 hours, breaks of at least 45 minutes must be provided for meals.

Common contractual hours of work

- 5 days a week or less: up to 9 hours a day OR 44 hours per week.

- Beyond 5 days a week: up to 8 hours a day OR 44 hours per week.

Working hours may extend up to 48 hours a week, capped at 88 hours over 2 continuous weeks.

Work shifts may extend up to 12 hours a day, capped at an average 44 hours per week over 3 continuous weeks.

An employee is not allowed to work more than 12 hours a day unless there is:

  • An accident or threat of accident.

  • Work that is essential to the life of the community, national defence or security.

  • Urgent work to be done to machinery or plant.

  • An interruption of work that was impossible to foresee.

Overtime Pay

An employee can only work up to 72 overtime hours in a month. Normal working hours on Rest Days or Public Holidays do not count towards the limit.

An employer must apply for an overtime exemption for an employee to work up to 14 hours a day or beyond 72 hours of overtime in a month.

Work done in excess of normal working hours must be paid out at least 1.5 times the hourly basic rate of pay of the employee, within 14 days after the last day of the salary period.

For overtime on a Rest day or Public Holiday (PH), remember to add Rest/PH pay accordingly.

Two categories of employees can claim overtime pay:

A. non-workman earning up to $2500
(overtime rate payable for non-workmen is capped at $11.80).


B. workman earning up to $4500
(a workman is generally understood as a person who primarily does manual work).

How is hourly basic rate of pay calculated?

Rest day

A rest day is a 24 hour period from midnight to midnight. The rest day of week is determined by the employer and it is not a paid day, typically falling on a Sunday.

For shift work the rest day can stretch to a continuous period of 30 hours. If the rest day is not a Sunday, a monthly roster needs to be prepared before the start of each month. A maximum of 12 days interval is allowed between 2 rest days.

Payment for work on a rest day:

Only under exceptional circumstances can an employee be requested to work on a rest day.

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