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Singapore’s Stance On Interns Under The Employment Act

In recent years, the number of interns in the Singapore workforce has proliferated. The key driver behind this trend is due to the realisation that the practical and hands-on experience that an internship provides is increasingly being regarded as an integral part of a student’s professional development.

While interns in the workplace are at greater risk of being exposed to unfair workplace treatments as opposed to regular employees, in Singapore, interns are covered under the Employment Act (EA) as well.

If your company happens to hire interns, here are some key regulations that you as the employer have to take note of.

Are Interns Covered Under The Employment Act?

According to the Employment Act (EA), all employees under a contract of service with an employer are covered. This includes interns as well.

Under this definition, it simply means that employers are obliged to provide statutory benefits prescribed under the EA to an intern, as long as the intern performs work and has work arrangements similar to that of a regular employee in the organisation.

What Are The Legalities Around Working Hours And Compensation?

Interns who enter into a contract of service with an employer should not be required to work more than 8 hours a day or more than 44 hours a week.

However, should an intern be willing to work overtime, it is capped at 12 working hours per day. Altogether, the overtime hours should not exceed 72 working hours per month.

Should an intern work overtime or on his / her rest days and Public Holidays, the employer must pay the intern for the extra hours of work. Note that the rate of overtime work should be minimally one and a half times of his / her hourly basic rate of pay.

Likewise, the employer must grant the intern one unpaid rest day in the week, which may be on a Sunday or any other one day.

Educational Institutions Often Require Students Complete Internships

Internships are typically provided as part of the curriculum by educational institutions. To ensure that students get the most out of their internships, organisations have to work closely with educational institutions.

Organisations should clearly brief both the educational institutions and students on the work environment as well as working arrangements. This can then help to better match students with the relevant internships that they are keen in.

At the same time, organisations should designate someone whom interns can approach for feedback or seek guidance. This can then facilitate regular feedback and healthy communication between both the employer and intern.

Similarly, organisations should always welcome feedback provided by interns. This can then allow organisations to continually improve the internship experience and further enhance their company’s brand as well.

For more information on the Employment Act, read more here.

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