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Global benefits insights - April 2023



Enhanced medical insurance requirements for foreign workers

From 1st July 2023, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) are making changes to mandatory medical insurance for new and existing Work Permits and S Pass holders.

Currently, employers are required to provide and maintain a medical insurance policy for foreign employees, with a minimum coverage of SGD 15,000 per year for inpatient and day patient care.

New requirements are being phased in over the next 2 years:

Phase 1 for new policies, renewals, or extensions from 1st July 2023:

  • Minimum coverage is to be increased to SGD 60,000 per year
  • Co-payment arrangements will be introduced for claims above SGD 15,000, up to the SGD 60,000 limit. The employer will need to cover 25% of the co-pay for claim amounts above the first SGD 15,000 and insurers will need to cover the remaining 75%

Phase 2 for plan renewed or extended from 1st July 2025:

  • A list of standardised medical conditions, treatments and procedures that can be excluded from cover
  • Age differential premiums for those under and over 50 years of age
  • Direct settlement between the insurer and the hospital or medical facility must take place once the claim has been approved

Depending on certain requirements, the employee may be required to pay part of the medical costs that exceed the minimum coverage.

Employers will need to ensure proof of coverage and adherence to the new obligations is provided to MOM before S Pass and work permits can be issued.



Qualification verification

Employers will be required to verify their foreign national’s academic qualifications as part of the Employment Pass application process.

From 1st September 2023, for any new Employment Pass (EP) applications and any renewals from 1st September 2024, employers must verify the education and academic qualifications of applicants to reduce fraudulent EP applications. EPs are designed for foreign professionals, managers and executives who have a job offer with a minimum monthly salary of SGD 5,000.

In addition, a Complementary Assessment Framework (COMPASS) will award points to EP applicants based on personal and employer criteria, including their academic qualifications, subject to verification by a background screening company.



2023 budget makes changes to its Central Provident Fund contributions

Singapore has announced changes to the CPF scheme to boost retirement savings for all.

Highlights from within the budget include:

  • The CPF monthly salary cap for calculating contributions will increase gradually to SGD 8,000 by 2026, up from SGD 6,000
  • The monthly base salary will increase by SGD 300 from 1st September 2023, SGD 500 from 1st January 2024, SGD 600 from 1st January 2025 and SGD 600 from 1st January 2026
  • The CPF annual salary cap remains unchanged at SGD 102,000
  • Total CPF contribution rates for workers aged 50 to 55 years will increase by 1.5% from 1 January 2024.

The budget takes effect on 1st April 2023 and the measures will be phased in as mentioned above.

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Confirms the social security ceiling for 2023

The National Tax and Customs Administration published the rate on 17th March 2023.

The minimum social security contribution for full-time employees is 69,600 HUF in 2023, calculated on the minimum monthly basic salary of 232,000 HUF.



Approves auto-enrolment pension obligations

Phased approach to implementation, enrolment and contributions will be introduced from 1st July 2024.

The secondary pensions policy requires employers who do not already provide an approved pension scheme to implement either the government-facilitated defined-contribution scheme (Your Island Pension - YIP), or a qualified, employer-sponsored pension plan.

The introduction of this policy will be staggered depending on an employer’s headcount.

Duty commencement date Number of employees as at launch date*
Launch date 26+
Launch date + 3 months 11-25
Launch date + 6 months 6-10
Launch date + 12 months 2-5
Launch date + 15 months 1

* The number of employees will be based on that reported in employer return at the end of the most recent quarter prior to launch date (i.e. employer contribution return for Q2 2024).

All employees who contribute into the social security scheme (unless they are in full-time education or of pensionable age) must be enrolled into the scheme. Employees are free to opt out of the scheme however, after 3 years, employers will need to re-enrol the employees who will then have the right to opt out again.

Contributions will be required by both the employee and employer and will be phased in over a 7-year period (until 2031) with an employee contribution of between 1% and 6.5% and an employer contribution between 1% and 3.5%.

Employers can voluntarily start their auto-enrolment from 1st January 2024, with YIP confirming it will accept voluntary applications. Employees who are not mandated to join (i.e. above pension age, salary is below the social security minimum) may be able to voluntarily enrol and contribute to the scheme.



Amends labour code

Amendments have been made to incorporate the parental directive and work-life balance.

The amendments have been submitted to the president of Poland and will be effective 21 days after promulgation. A separate series of amendments to regulate remote working are effective as of April 7th 2023.

Key items:

  • Parental leave will be extended to 41 weeks (previously 32 weeks) for a single birth and 43 weeks for a multiple birth. Each parent has a right to nine non-transferable weeks. The leave allowance will be payable by social security and will now be changed to 70% of covered pay for the entire period (previously it had been 100% for the first six weeks and 60% thereafter). However, if the mother applies for parental leave within 21 days after the birth, the allowance will be payable at a rate of 81.5% during her maternity and parental leave.
  • Employees will receive unpaid leave of up to 5 days each year to care for a child, spouse, or other household member due to serious medical conditions.
  • Employees will receive up to 2 days or 16 hours of force majeure leave per year to address urgent family matters caused by illness or accident. This leave is payable by the employer at 50% of the employees normal pay.
  • During the first 8 years of their child’s life, employees are not required to work overtime, at night or at a location other than their permanent work site. This has been extended from the previous offering, which only applied during the first 4 years of a child’s life.
  • Employees raising a child under the age of 8 will be able to request flexible working arrangements (e.g. individual work schedules, reduced working hours, remote work). The employer must respond to the employee within 7 days and provide a reason if the request is denied.

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