Work-from-home has been the default work arrangement in Singapore for almost two years now. While this hasn’t been an easy time, it has also opened up opportunities for employees to start a side hustle and/or even work more than one job.
There’s nothing in Singapore employment laws to stop someone from working two full-time jobs at the same time. In fact, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) published an advisory in 2020 stating that employees can take on a second job as long as there are no i) prohibitions in an employee’s contract and/or ii) conflicts of interest.
The advisory also encouraged employers to be supportive of employees affected by the COVID-19 downturn by waiving any contractual prohibitions, especially if they have been given less hours (and thus pay). Employees are also encouraged to clarify with both employers if there is a conflict of interest or scheduling conflicts.
It Is Not Legal For Certain Employees To Have More Than One Job
Foreign employees on work passes, such as those working here on work permits, S Pass and Employment Pass (EP) must only work for their designated employer. In addition, MOM also states that they cannot engage in any other activities to earn additional income in Singapore.
Also mentioned earlier in the article, employees must ensure that their employment contract does not prohibit them from working with another employer. Even if there is no such clause in their contract, employees should also ensure they act in good faith and honestly.
As such, they should refrain from the “grey area” of working for businesses that are competing with one another, or even complementary to one another as they may cross-refer business with ulterior motives. Of course, employees should not cross-deploy resources such as their working hours or technology to complete work for another company.
Paying CPF To Employees With Two (Or More) Full-Time Jobs
Employers in Singapore are responsible for making both the employer’s CPF contribution and Employee’s CPF contribution. This is regardless of how many employers that the worker has – and it can be more than two.
As we would also know, employers only have to contribute CPF for up to $6,000 of an employee’s monthly salary. There’s also an annual CPF contribution limit of $37,740 to take additional wages into account.
What Do Employers Do If An Employee Is Earning More Than $6,000 Across Multiple Employers?
While employees should only receive CPF contributions on the first $6,000 of their monthly salaries, this is on a “per employment” basis. The same logic also applies to the $37,740 CPF annual limit. For employers, this means they do not need to be concerned with what employees are earning elsewhere.
For example, if you are paying an employee $4,000 a month, and another company is paying the same employee $3,000 a month, it does not matter that they receive a combined CPF contribution on $7,000 of salary each month. Individual employers only need to be concerned with what they are paying their employees.
However, the employee can apply to limit their employee’s share of CPF contributions at the $6,000 salary mark. They can do so by informing the CPF Board. They will also have to consent to the CPF Board informing all their employers as the notification will go directly to employers when the application is approved. This may result in certain administrative work that employers need to attend to. Even if approved, this does not affect the amount the employers have to contribute – it only limits how much the employee has to contribute.
Some Repercussions Of Having Two Or More Jobs At The Same Time
#1 May Be Suspicious When Multiple Employers Are Contributing CPF
When hiring someone who has multiple jobs, or more accurately, CPF contributions, there may be added questions when it comes to government schemes.
For example, employers who currently hire new employees may be eligible for salary support under the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) scheme. If you are hiring an employee who is already hired elsewhere, it does not matter. Employers will be eligible for the scheme in its entirety.
For this reason, there is a financial incentive to “hire” employees by making CPF contributions only. If the employee is complicit in the action, they can split the government support. Obviously, this is fraudulent.
There are many other government scheme that such fraudulent “hiring” can benefit from, such as the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) and, previously, the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme.
In fact, IRAS issued a statement in May 2021, stating that they had denied $32 million to 1,300 employers after reviewing 800 JSS and 1,100 JGI payouts. Cases for suspected abuse were referred to the police.
For the employer that is legitimately hiring and paying their employees with two jobs, they may be implicated from additional scrutiny as well.
#2 Employers May Not Like It (And May Impose Monitoring)
As an employer, you may not want your employee to work multiple jobs. Obviously, working for a competitor would be a red line. However, even if they’re not working for a competitor, their focus may not be on your business.
Coupled with working-from-home, employers may start to question whether their employees are spending sufficient time on their projects. Questions may also arise about whether an employee is spending the designated working hours doing other work.
This could turn out to be awful for all other employees if employers start using monitoring tools/methods to keep tabs on employees.
#3 Potentially Impact Employers’ Foreign Worker Quota
When counting for eligible local workers for your foreign worker quota, employees who receive CPF contributions from three or more employers will not be counted.
At the same time, MOM explicitly states that employers should not use this as a method to contribute salary (and CPF) for the same employee under multiple companies to gain more foreign worker quota.
#4 More Contributions To Self-Help Groups (SHGs)
For employees, contributions to Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are on a “per employment” basis as well. This means that when employers are making CPF contributions each month, they will also be contributing to SHGs on multiple occasions.
Nevertheless, this is a smaller issue as the contributions are not very high and employees can contact their respective SHG to stop contributions if they wish.
This is far from an exhaustive list of repercussions, and there may be more applicable ones. If you do know of any that we have missed out on, you can let us know at [email protected]
This article was first published on 15 October 2021 and has been updated with the latest information.
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