Singapore employees be forewarned: the 13th month payment is not a bonus.

Here is why: In Singapore, salaries are paid and negotiated on a monthly basis. However most months do not have the same number of days as any other month. The definition of a month, should be made up of 4 weeks or exactly 28 days – like as in February. Extra days borne from other months made up to 29 days:

Days exceeding 4 weeks (28 days)
Jan 3
Feb 0
Mar 3
Apr 2
May 3
Jun 2
Jul 3
Aug 3
Sep 2
Oct 3
Nov 2
Dec 3
Total: 29


The result is a whole extra month plus 1 day of salaries stolen by your employer if he refuses to compensate the 13th month salary or attempt to lie his way through calling it a bonus. The solution to squash this ambiguity is a redefinition, salaries in Singapore should be based on a yearly basis, instead of monthly. Singapore employers who claim to pay a monthly salary and deny their employees 13th month salaries are effectively committing wage theft by paying a yearly salary.

Most Singapore employers are largely guilty of wage theft and this is condone by the Ministry of Manpower which refuses to clarify its position on the 13th month payment. However, MOM did specify that Singapore have a 44 hour work week, and anything more than that is Overtime. Therefore, 13th month payment is not a bonus and is actually overworked hours you clocked. To claim it as bonus or otherwise is wage theft.

After all, you wouldn’t work 29 days for free would you?