HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore 'one of the simplest' for HR in APAC: TMF

It stood on the same ranking as Thailand.

Singapore was one of the “simplest jurisdictions” in terms of human resources (HR) and payroll in APAC, according to a new report by global professional services firm TMF Group.

The city-state stood in “stark contrast to major Asian economies like China, and India which are found to be amongst the most complex [places for HR and payroll] globally,” the report added. Though it trailed a little behind New Zealand, Singapore was found to be one of the least complex markets in APAC alongside Thailand.

The report “HR & Payroll: Navigating complex requirements in turbulent times” ranked 77 jurisdictions by the complexity of their HR and payroll systems, as well as explored employer and employee relations across four areas: hiring and terminating employees, ongoing management of HR and payroll, relationship between international workforces and local rules, and technology as an enabler for both employers and employees.

“For businesses, complexity in this area is ultimately about a jurisdiction’s approach to the relationship between employer, employee, and government,” explained TMF Group, noting that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made things even more complicated, as different governments had various approaches to workers’ needs throughout the crisis.

In Singapore, over 140,000 employers have received payouts through the government’s Job Support Scheme, totalling to more than $21.5b which would help subsidise the wages of over 1.9 million employees.

“Companies that were taking care of their employees before the pandemic have been the most likely to continue to have a good relationship throughout,” said TMF Group’s managing director for Singapore and Malaysia Edmund Lee. “It will be interesting to see whether HR and payroll legislation will shift to offer a safer, more protective working environment for employees—whilst still attracting foreign businesses in order to regrow their economies.”

Moreover, whilst employment and payroll guidelines were already fairly transparent in the city-state, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board regularly updates and provides clarification around CPF treatments. “Complexity arises because CPF contributions differ depending upon whether individuals are foreign workers under an Employment Pass, a Permanent Resident or Singapore citizens,” the report added.

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