How Many Work Hours in a Week Is Effective in Singapore

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 23 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Knowing your average number of hours worked in a week might help you determine whether you've established a healthy work-life balance. It might also assist you in determining your actual annual pay and whether you're being compensated fairly. Understanding the different types of working hours may help you decide whether you're content with your current work hours or keen on exploring other alternative work schedules. In this article, we go over why it's essential to know how many hours you work in a week, alternative work schedules and what are the typical working hours like in Singapore.

Why is it essential to know how many hours you work in a week?

There are a number of reasons why it is useful to know the number of hours you work in a week. Having this knowledge can assist you in the following ways:

Determine your annual income

If you're paid by the hour, knowing how many work hours there are in a week allows you to determine your weekly, monthly and yearly income. This can give you more clarity and help you budget and plan your expenditures. This knowledge also gives you a greater sense of stability.

Related: Guide: How To Calculate Gross Monthly Income (With Examples)

Calculate your hourly pay

If you're on a fixed salary and feel short-changed on your contributions and efforts, you might like to figure out how much you're paid per hour. You can simply divide your monthly income by the number of hours you work in a month. This way, you can get a better sense of whether you're compensated appropriately.

Arrange for social and leisure activities

Knowing how many hours you work per week gives you an idea of how much spare time you may have and allows you to better plan for other social and leisure activities. This enables you to better manage your time and allocate some spare time to your hobbies, personal development, family occasions as well as exercise and fitness. Without a clear understanding of your expected work hours, you might risk missing out on important occasions.

Assess your work-life balance

Working too many hours might actually lower your productivity. Although it sounds counterintuitive, people benefit from taking some time off work. Calculating the number of hours you work per week allows you to better analyse your own work-related behaviours and consider whether you can reduce your work hours, take additional vacation time, spend more time with your family or step away from work on weekends.

How many hours per week do you normally work?

Contractual working hours are the hours that you and your employer agreed upon in your employment agreement. For conventional work arrangements in Singapore, you can expect to work from Monday through Friday for eight or nine hours per day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. As the maximum number of work hours per week in Singapore is 44 hours, employers typically end work an hour earlier on Friday. As such, the typical work hours in Singapore are 40 to 44 hours.

Although this is the conventional practice, it's not applicable to every industry. For instance, those working in healthcare, logistics or public safety industries may work on shifts early in the morning or late at night. Be mindful that the start and finish timings may also vary depending on the industry and organisation.

Types of alternative work schedules

The following includes some alternative work schedules available:

1. Fixed full-time

A fixed full-time work schedule is comparable to a conventional work schedule, except it applies to firms that operate for at least nine hours every day. If you work with a fixed full-time arrangement, you may expect to work in a shift from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. and another colleague may start their shift from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. In this scenario, both you and your colleague would have a fixed full-time schedule at separate hours.

2. Fixed part-time

Similar to a fixed full-time schedule, a fixed part-time arrangement entails fixed working hours, except you work fewer than eight hours per day and fewer than 40 hours per week. You can expect your routine and schedule to remain similar every day and week. As an example, fixed part-time employment may need you to work from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m on weekdays.

3. Job share

Job sharing occurs whenever two staff members work part-time schedules to complete the full-time schedule of a normal employee. This is a favourable scheme for those who prefer greater flexibility and shorter work shifts. As an illustration, full-time staff can work a schedule from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and two professionals in a job share arrangement can have the first employee working from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the other employee working from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

4. Flextime

In a flextime work schedule, you can work a portion of your hours at a specified time, and choose the remainder of your hours at your convenience. This is a great alternative if you can manage your time well. For instance, you may be obliged to work from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and have the option of working the remaining six hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

5. Rotating Shift

In a rotating shift arrangement, you can expect a daily or weekly work hour rotation. This alternative work schedule allows staff to work various shifts each day or week as the hours' cycle through staff. Staff on a rotating shift typically does the same job responsibilities at different times. This allows for a more flexible and less monotonous work schedule.

Related: What Is Shift Work? (With Examples, Tips, Pros and Cons)

Why alternative work schedules may be advantageous

Those who require flexibility from a regular schedule may benefit from an alternate work schedule. Comprehending the different types of alternative work schedules may help you understand what type of job suits your lifestyle and priorities better. It's always a good idea to work with a schedule that grants you more freedom to organise your life as you see fit. Generally speaking, alternative and flexible work schedules are useful in the following ways:

  • Increasing your adaptability and efficiency

  • Allowing you to take control of your schedule

  • Reducing stress during work and fostering a more content culture

  • Enhancing your engagement and work quality

  • Boosting your loyalty to the organisation you work for

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Outlined below are some FAQs pertaining to the work hours in Singapore:

What are the maximum hours of work per day?

According to statutory law, the maximum weekly hours for full-timers is 44 hours. But if you're a workman doing manual labour earning no more than $4,500 or a non-workman earning no more than $2,600 per month, you can work more hours and earn overtime pay if the need arises. Note that the maximum daily and weekly work hours stands at 12 and 72, respectively. There is, however, a provision for extraordinary circumstances, whereby your employer may request more than 12 hours of daily work. These special circumstances include:

  • A threat of accident or an accident

  • Essential work that's critical to the wellbeing of the society or national security and defence

  • Work on plant and equipment that has to be done immediately

  • A work stoppage that couldn't have been predicted

Are 40 hours a week too much?

In Singapore, 40 work hours per week still fall within the normal contractual working hours. This arrangement serves as the most common standard employed by many corporate organisations. Considering that there are five working days, this arrangement translates to eight work hours per day.

The answer to whether 40 hours is adequate or too much depends on the industry you're in, as well as your personal priorities and preferences. But generally speaking, people are often more productive when they work fewer hours. This is because shorter hours motivate you to be more effective at prioritising, more focused, stop procrastinating and feel less overwhelmed.

Is working 50 or 70 hours a week too much?

For all work arrangements, the average weekly work hours are at 44 hours legally. That said, working 50 or 70 hours per week is not only too much, it's also illegal in Singapore. However, this cap is a great way to ensure that you don't overwork yourself and suffer from both physical and mental exhaustion.

Typically, you can work up to 48 hours per week, but it's capped at 88 hours in a continuous two-week period. For instance, if you work 38 hours in week one and 46 hours in week two, you still have a total of 84 hours. If you work in a job that requires up to 12 work hours per day, you may have an average of 44 hours over a continuous three-week period. As an illustration, if you work 38 hours, 46 hours and 48 hours in three consecutive weeks, you get an average of 44 hours per week.

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