Employment Rights for Interns


Set your business up for success with these tips!


As many industries are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore government has been generous with providing grants relief for SMEs. One of the most popular support measures introduced since 2020 is the employment grant which offers up to 80% salary support. The employment grants relief range from full-time employees to interns.


We have previously covered SGUnited Training Programme which is meant for fresh graduates or mid-career individuals looking for a switch in career options. These markets were specifically targeted by the Singapore government as the livelihoods of individuals were affected by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Parties who are interested in applying for the SGUT programme may click here for more information.

However, every company can only apply for SGUT once. There are also a set of eligibility criteria that needs to be fulfilled before the company can be considered for the programme. With that, another option would be the Global Ready Talent programme for business owners to offer internship opportunities to students from relevant field actively seeking for job experience. The internship grant provides up to 70% salary support to help the company to tide over staffing needs at lower cost while providing rewarding and meaningful work experience for the future generation.


For more information on the internship grant, click here for more information.


While it is great to onboard trainees and interns at a lower cost, companies need to be aware that these group of employees are subjected to different employment rights as they are not considered as full-time employees. It is however, important for companies to note that all employees including interns engaged under a contract of service are protected by the Employment Act.


Internships are not only offered to students, but fresh graduates or young professionals who might be interested to advance into a new field of expertise. As interns are generally made up of the younger generations, they are more agile in creative thinking and tech-savvy. Permanent employment may be offered to interns if they perform well during the internship, which saves the company costs such as time required to re-train a new employee.

  • Allowance

Under the Employment Act, there is no minimum allowance requirement for interns. However, companies are encouraged to provide at least monthly disbursement for their lunch and travelling expenses incurred during the employment period. Nonetheless, employers can now undertake the Global Ready Talent programme to receive government support for the internship allowance, under the following conditions:

  • Minimum allowance (before funding) of $800 to ITE and polytechnic students; OR

  • $1000 to university students

  • Employers are expected to provide regular feedback to students throughout the internship.

Students can also provide their feedback about the internship to their education institutions, so that the institutions and employers can continually think of ways to improve the internship experience.

Companies need to take note that terms of employment must be formally ratified in an employment contract if the intern is to be employed for more than 14 days. Some of the Key Employment Terms (KET) required are as follow:

  • Full name of employee;

  • Job title, main duties, and responsibilities;

  • Duration and the expected start date of employment;

  • Working arrangement;

  • Salary and allowance

As internships are meant to be temporary, it can be terminated if the interns are not performing well. An internship is also not a guarantee of a full-time position and thus, there is lesser commitment for the company. However, an official employment contract must be offered to the intern should the employee be interested in formally employing the intern.


Coming up with a KET and employment contract can be frustrating especially since it must comply with the MOM’s requirement to avoid any liabilities. An employee handbook also forms the Human Resource foundation of the organisation. Fear not, K.Merleone can ease your frustration! Contact us now at info@KMerleone.com to find out more.

We will respond within 24 hours upon receiving your inquiry.

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