Section 29 of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) empowers the Minister (in this case, the Minister of Manpower) to make additional regulations governing the employment of foreign manpower. These additional Regulations have the status of subsidiary legislation (also known as by-laws). That is, they have the force of law, but subordinate to the provisions of the EFMA itself. The purpose of Regulations is to add a necessary level of detail to operationalise the EFMA.

The EFMA can be found at

To see the Employment of Foreign Manpower Regulations, click here.

The provisions of Part I apply to the employment of Work Permit holders engaged in domestic work. Those of Part II apply to the employment of Work Permit holders engaged in non-domestic work. Part III are additional provisions relating to construction work and Part IV are a few more conditions to be complied with by the foreign employee.

The provisions clearly state that an “employer shall be responsible for and bear the costs of the foreign employee’s upkeep and maintenance in Singapore. This includes the provision of adequate food, as well as medical treatment.”

With respect to salaries, “The employer shall pay the salary (including allowances) due to the foreign employee not later than 7 days after the last day of the salary period. Any salary period agreed between the employer and foreign employee shall not exceed one month. If the foreign employee so requests, the salary shall be paid through direct transfer into the foreign employee’s bank account in a bank established in Singapore.”

Also, the Regulations imply that employees are always monthly-rated, never daily-rated. This is inherent in the meaning of this provision: “Except where the foreign employee is on no-pay leave outside Singapore, the employer shall, regardless of whether there is actual work for the foreign employee, and subject to any written law, pay the foreign employee no less than the fixed salary amount declared in the application for a Work Permit submitted to the Controller.”

The above apply to both domestic and non-domestic workers.

Labour supply in construction industry

Part III is notable for provisions regulating the supply of labour by employers of Work Permit holders to third parties. It says that “an employer may, with the consent of the foreign employee, enter into a contract for the supply of labour with an eligible third party engaged in the construction industry.”  How is the eligibility of the third party determined? Through the Ministry of Manpower, as governed by this sentence: “The employer shall verify the eligibility of the third party with the Controller, through such means as may be provided by the Controller, before entering into any such contract for the supply of labour.”

Moreover, the contract between the employer of Work Permit holders and eligible third parties must be in writing.

Nowhere in these Regulations is there any provision for transfer (in labour supply circumstances) of responsibility for upkeep, maintenance and salary payments from the employer to the third party.