Payroll Processing and Administration Guide in Singapore


Managing payroll in Singapore goes beyond mere calculations of salaries and taxes. In this article, we will delve into the key elements of payroll processing administration in Singapore. Topics covered include registration with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), salary computation, statutory deductions, leave entitlements, payroll cycles, documentation management, termination procedures, final pay, and reporting.

Additionally, we will provide guidance on managing payroll in Singapore, highlighting the benefits of utilizing a payroll software solution. This enables businesses to stay up-to-date with Singaporean regulations and minimize the risk of human error.

By following the tips outlined in this guide, businesses can ensure efficient and accurate payroll management.

Registration Process

When hiring staff in Singapore, employers are required to complete the registration process with two key authorities: the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) and the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board.

The IRAS is responsible for tax collection, while CPF is a mandatory savings scheme for all Singapore citizens and permanent residents. To ensure compliance, follow the steps below for employer and employee registration:

Employer’s Registration: All corporations employing personnel in Singapore must register with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) for tax purposes. This can be conveniently completed online through the official IRAS website.

Employee Registration: Newly hired employees should be registered with both CPF and the CPF Board to ensure eligibility for relevant benefits. This process can be easily carried out online via the CPF website or by visiting a CPF service center.

By adhering to these registration requirements, employers and employees can fulfill their obligations and enjoy the benefits provided by the Singaporean authorities.

Components of Salary

The salary structure in Singapore consists of three key elements: basic salary, allowances, and overtime.

Basic Salary: This serves as the fundamental amount specified in the employment contract, ensuring a guaranteed payment regardless of other factors.

Allowances: These encompass additional payments that cover various expenses such as housing, transportation, and medical care.

Overtime: Compensation for work conducted outside regular hours, usually at a rate of 1.5x to 2x the hourly rate.

Statutory Deductions

Statutory deductions refer to the mandatory deductions that employers are legally required to make from an employee’s salary or wages, as dictated by government laws and regulations.

Income Tax: Income tax is deducted at source from the employee’s salary and then remitted to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). The amount of tax deducted depends on the employee’s income and marital status.

Central Provident Fund (CPF): CPF is a compulsory savings scheme for all Singaporean citizens and permanent residents. Both employers and employees contribute a portion of their monthly salary to CPF based on predetermined rates.

Skills Development Levy (SDL): SDL is a modest levy used to finance employee training programs. The levy amount is calculated as a percentage of the employee’s monthly salary, with the specific rate varying by industry.

Foreign Worker Levy (FWL): The FWL is applicable if you employ foreign workers on work permits or S passes. The levy is calculated as a percentage of the foreign worker’s monthly salary and is subject to variation based on the industry and the employee’s skill level.

Leave Entitlements in Singapore

Under the Employment Act, all employers in Singapore are required to provide leave entitlements to their employees. The leave entitlements in Singapore are as follows:

  1. Annual Leave: Employees are entitled to annual leave, typically calculated as 14 days per year of service. However, the Employment Act specifies a minimum of seven days of annual leave per year.
  2. Sick Leave: Employees are entitled to sick leave, typically calculated as 14 days per year of service.
  3. Maternity and Paternity Leave: Eligible female employees are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave. Eligible male employees are entitled to 2 weeks of paternity leave.

These leave entitlements ensure that employees in Singapore can take necessary breaks, promoting work-life balance and well-being.

Benefits and Allowances

In addition to the base salary, employers in Singapore may offer a range of additional benefits to their employees. Some of the commonly provided supplementary benefits in Singapore include:

Medical and Health Insurance: This insurance coverage extends to medical expenses, such as doctor’s appointments, hospitalization, and prescription medications.

Transportation Allowances: This monthly allowance helps employees meet commuting expenses to and from their workplace.

Bonuses or 13th-Month Payments: These discretionary payments are made in addition to the regular salary. Bonuses are often performance-based, while 13th-month payments are typically given once a year, around the time of Lunar New Year.

Payroll Cycles in Singapore

The most common payroll cycle in Singapore is monthly, although bi-weekly or weekly cycles may be adopted by some businesses, particularly for part-time or hourly-paid employees.

Monthly payroll: This is the prevalent payroll cycle in Singapore, with payments made on the last day of each month.

Bi-weekly payroll: This payroll cycle involves payments made every two weeks, specifically on the 1st and 15th of each month.

Weekly payroll: In this payroll cycle, payments are made on a weekly basis, typically on Fridays.

Maintaining Records

Businesses in Singapore that employ full-time or part-time workers have a legal obligation to keep accurate documentation of all payroll records. These records encompass personal employee details, offer letters, monthly payslips, proof of CPF payments, and leave records. It is crucial to retain these documents for a minimum of seven years.

Here are some of the key payroll records that should be maintained:

  1. Personal Details: This includes the employee’s name, NRIC or FIN, date of birth, contact information, and employment start date.
  2. Offer Letter: The offer letter outlines the terms of service, including the basic salary, benefits, job scope, and other relevant information.
  3. Payslips: Payslips should be issued to employees every pay period, clearly indicating their earnings, deductions, and net pay.
  4. Tax Deductions: It is important to record the amount of tax deducted from an employee’s pay.
  5. CPF Contributions: Employers and employees are required to contribute to the Central Provident Fund (CPF), a compulsory savings scheme for retirement, housing, healthcare, and other expenses.
  6. Leave Records: Employers must maintain accurate records of employees’ leave entitlements and usage.

By adhering to these record-keeping practices, businesses can ensure compliance and maintain a transparent and organized payroll system.

Termination and Final Pay

Final pay is provided to employees upon termination, resignation, or retrenchment. It encompasses their last earned salary, the conversion of any unused annual leave, and other entitled benefits or bonuses as per their employment contract.

The final pay should include the following three components:

  1. Last drawn salary: This refers to the employee’s salary for the last month of their employment.
  2. Conversion of unused annual leave: If the employee has any remaining annual leave, it should be converted into cash and included in their final pay. The amount of annual leave eligible for conversion depends on the terms outlined in the employee’s contract.
  3. Any other benefits, commissions, or bonuses specified in the contract: These should be disbursed as part of the employee’s final pay.

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Compliance and Reporting

In Singapore, employers have a legal obligation to regularly report to various statutory bodies. The following are the two most crucial reporting requirements:

Monthly or annual income tax deductions to IRAS: Employers must deduct income tax from their employees’ salaries and submit it to IRAS on a monthly or annual basis. The reporting frequency depends on the employee’s income.

Monthly CPF contributions: Employers and employees are obligated to make monthly contributions to the CPF, a mandatory savings scheme for retirement, housing, healthcare, and other expenses.

Technology and Software

Managing payroll is a complex and time-consuming process, which can be streamlined through the use of automated systems. Payroll software offers several advantages, including reducing human errors and improving efficiency.

There are a number of payroll software solutions available in Singapore, both locally developed and international. These payroll software can optimize efficiency by automating tasks such as:

  • Calculating salaries and wages
  • Deducting taxes and contributions
  • Generating payslips
  • Submitting reports to statutory bodies
  • Managing leave application
  • Tracking employee hours

Outsourcing Payroll in Singapore

Many companies in Singapore are opting to payroll outsource their payroll functions to experts. This option offers significant time and cost savings, as it ensures efficient and compliant payroll processing.

At Fastlane Group, we are renowned as a preferred payroll outsourcing administrator, combining extensive experience with cutting-edge payroll software solutions. With our professionalism, you can expect a seamless and hassle-free experience that meets all requirements without any setbacks.


Navigating the complex and ever-changing landscape of payroll processing and administration in Singapore can be daunting for businesses. However, with a reliable partner like Fastlane Group, businesses can effortlessly stay ahead. By partnering with us, businesses can efficiently and confidently navigate this landscape. Contact our experts or schedule a meeting now.


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