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Work Pass Exemptions (WPE) in Singapore

When you are assigning an employee to Singapore short term, there is a way to avoid the need for a formal work pass.  One of our clients recently used this route, but had questions about which employer contributions might still be required.

What is WPE?

Work Pass Exemptions (WPE) are issued for certain activities that are short term and limited to less than 90 days per calendar year (30 days per stay).  For a full list of exempted activities, you can look at the Singapore immigration website. 

Some of these jobs do still require that you notify immigration of the visit even if no work pass is needed.  For our clients, Shield GEO handles any WPE applications and tax clearances so there is no confusion or compliance problems for your employees.

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Employer Contributions on Work Pass Exemptions (WPE) in Singapore

The issue that came up for our client is whether employer statutory contributions (SDL, CPF, WICA) are still needed for WPE jobs.  The short answer is no, employer contributions are not necessary for WPE foreign workers so it is a simpler way to assign employees for certain projects or activities.

Why is there no SDL, Employer CPF or WICA?

The reason contributions are not required is that the a WPE worker is not a legal Singapore employee and so statutory payments do not apply.  Home country medical insurance would be all that is needed to cover the employee while on assignment.

Here is a quick summary of the contributions that do have to be made for your regular, long term employees assigned to Singapore:

Skills Development Levy (SDL)

What is SDL?

SDL is a fund used for training of employees in the National Continuing Education System.

Who is the SDL for?

It is for all non-exempt employees in Singapore working for a registered entity, either foreign or domestic.

Central Provident Fund (CPF)

What is CPF?

CPF is a mandatory social security payment that requires both employer and employee contributions.

Who is CPF for?

It is for all workers employed in Singapore and is used to fund a retirement savings plan for employees.

Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA)

What is WICA?

The Work Injury Compensation Act is designed to cover workplace accidents and injuries.

Who is WICA for?

All local and foreign employees are covered, and employers must make regular contributions.

The intricacies of statutory contributions and exempted job categories can be a challenge to manage from your office. For this reason, our client companies use our full GEO employment solution, where we take of all the details for you and save you the possibility of non-compliance with Singapore laws.

Need help employing in Singapore? Get in touch!

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