What Is The Average Working Hours In Singapore For Full-Time And Part-Time Employees

Average working hours in Singapore

Singapore employees are often cited as working some of the longest hours in the world. Looking at our GDP per capita, which is one of the highest in the world, it may not be a big surprise.

Working hours are also regulated under Singapore’s Employment Act – protecting certain groups of employees here. In fact, according to the Employment Act, the definition of “hours of work” is the time during which an employee is at the employer’s disposal and is not free to dispose of his or her own time and movements exclusive of any intervals allowed for rest and meals.

Keeping track of the working hours in Singapore is also important as it is an input to measure economic indicators in Singapore, such as productivity.

Read Also: Singapore Employment Act: 10 Statutory Requirements To Pay Employees

What Is The Average Working Hours In Singapore?

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) publishes the paid hours worked and actual hours worked per week each year. In 2023, the average paid hours worked per week was 43.6 hours, while the actual working hours was 43.8 hours. 

Paid hours refer to the number of standard working hours AND paid overtime work hours. Actual hours worked refers to the actual time spent by employees on work activities, regardless of whether the hours are regular in nature or whether they are paid for. 

Paid hours worked in Singapore 2023

Over the past decade, there seems to be a general downward trend in the number of paid hours Singapore employees are working. Similarly, the number of actual hours worked also follows a similar downtrend.

Interestingly, there is a small discrepancy between paid hours per week (blue line) and actual hours worked per week (orange line). In the past two years, we can see that Actual Hours Worked is more than Paid Hours Worked.

We should also note that MOM’s data does not capture unpaid overtime hours worked by executives and management staff – who are normally not paid for working overtime.

Which Industry Works The Most Hours In Singapore?

MOM also publishes the average actual working hours on an industry level.

Industry202320222021
Manufacturing46.547.547.8
Construction 48.649.949.8
Wholesale & Retail Trade41.442.242.4
Transportation & Storage44.345.245.4
Accommodation45.245.144.7
Food & Beverage Services39.439.739.7
Information & Communications 40.640.941.4
Financial & Insurance Services40.841.341.7
Real Estate Services43.243.243.4
Professional Services42.342.642.4
Administrative & Support Services43.743.644.8
Public Administration & Education41.441.341.4
Health & Social Services42.343.742.8
Others (includes Agriculture,
Fishing, Quarrying, Utilities and Sewerage & Waste Management
44.445.145.2
Source: MOM

According to the statistics, employees in the Food & Beverage Services, Information & Communications, and Financial & Insurance Services industries worked the least number of hours – under 41 hours per week.

Meanwhile, employees working in the Construction industry worked the most by far – at 48.6 hours per week.

For those wondering what this classification is based on, given that there are “Others” and obviously some missing one, we can refer to the SSIC Code.

Read Also: What is Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) Code And Why It Matters?

How Many Hours Can Employees Work (According To The Employment Act)?

Under Part 4 of the Employment Act, employees cannot be required to work for “more than 6 consecutive hours without a period of leisure” and for “more than 8 hours in one day or more than 44 hours in one week”.

There are certain provisions to provide greater flexibility as well. For example, employees can work up to 9 hours in one day if they work less on another day, but only up to the limit of 44 hours in one week. Employees can also work up to 48 hours per week, provided that they do not work more than 9 hours in one day and more than 88 hours in a two week period.

As “Hours of work” falls under Part 4 of the Employment Act, we should also note that it only applies to certain groups of employees, such as:

#1 to workmen who are paid a salary not exceeding $4,500 a month (excluding other types of payments and bonuses)

#2 every employee (other than workmen or a person employed in a managerial or executive position) who receives a salary not exceeding $2,600 a month (excluding other types of payments and bonuses)

Read Also: Complete Guide To Understanding Annual Leave Entitlements In Singapore

Part-Time Workers Are Defined By Their Hours Of Work Per Week

The Employment Act also defines part-time employees as “an employee who is required under his or her contract of service with an employer to work for less than 35 hours per week”.

By this definition, it also means that full-time employment refers to employees with normal working hours that is at least 35 hours per week. 

Read Also: Part-Time Employment Regulations: 10 Things To Know When Hiring A Part-Timer

How Accurate Is The Statistics On Hours Worked Per Week?

According to MOM, the statistics on hours worked is compiled from its biennial Conditions of Employment Survey. This means it is self-reported by employers. 

Moreover, as mentioned above, these statistics also do not take into consideration unpaid overtime hours worked by executives and management staff as they are normally not paid for working overtime.

While the number of hours worked in singapore is reducing over the years, Singapore employees still work relatively long hours compared other countries. A simple Google search for “which countries work the longest hours” will reveal stats pointing to Singapore’s long working hours. Even if Singapore is missing from any particular reports, our 43.6 hours average work week will rank quite high on many international lists.

Read Also: 17 Types of Leaves Offered By Singapore Companies (Statutory And Non-Statutory)

This article was first published on 11 September 2022 and has been updated with the latest information.

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