Licensing of Cleaning Businesses Starts on 1 April 2014


  1. With the Environmental Public Health (EPH) Amendment Bill coming into force on 1 April 2014, cleaning businesses are reminded to submit their applications for cleaning business licences. All general cleaning businesses in Singapore, even if these services form only part of their overall business, will have to be licensed before 1 September 2014.
  2. Cleaning businesses are strongly encouraged to submit their applications with the necessary supporting information by 15 July 2014 so as to obtain their licences by 1 September 2014 [Refer to Annex A for licensing requirements]. Service buyers should check that their cleaning service providers are licensed. The list of licensed cleaning businesses is shown on the National Environment Agency (NEA) website, and it will be updated periodically.
  3. The licensing regime requires licensees to have written employment contracts, provide training and have a progressive wage plan. This ensures that cleaners receive wages that are commensurate with their skills, training and productivity. An estimated 55,0001 resident cleaners will benefit from the scheme. In addition, service buyers and consumers can look forward to more reliable and better quality cleaning services.
  4. NEA’s Chief Executive Officer, Ronnie Tay said, “The new licensing scheme will serve to raise the productivity, professionalism and the service standards of the cleaning industry. Cleaning businesses are strongly encouraged to send their cleaners for training and to apply for their licenses early so that they can continue business operations without any disruption.”Commissioner for Labour has fully adopted the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners’ (TCC) Progressive Wage Model (PWM)
  5. The Commissioner for Labour has considered and fully adopted the TCC’s recommendations for resident cleaners’ starting basic wages. Cleaning businesses seeking to be licensed from 1 April 2014 will need to submit a progressive wage plan for resident cleaners, specifying basic wages no less than the wage levels for each class of cleaners under the PWM [Refer to Annex B for information about the Progressive Wage Model and TCC]. Licensed cleaning businesses must also provide their cleaners with pay slips and employment contracts that state wages in accordance with their submitted progressive wage plan.
  6. From 1 September 2014, the Commissioner for Labour will enforce the PWM requirement for all new contracts, which cover all service contracts entered into from 1 April 2014. For all other existing service contracts entered into before 1 April 2014, cleaning businesses will have until 1 September 2015 to pay cleaners wages according to the PWM.
  7. Cleaning businesses should refer to the Report of the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners for details on the definitions of the various cleaner job categories under the PWM agreed by the TCC, as well as other clarifications by the TCC to help companies comply with the PWM requirement.Training for cleaning staff
  8. Cleaning businesses would need to have at least 50 per cent of their cleaning staff trained in at least one module within the Environmental Cleaning (EC) Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) framework at the point of first application [Refer to Annex C for the EC WSQ framework]. At the time of their first licence renewal, 100 per cent of their staff should be trained. Mr Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive of the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) said, “To support cleaning businesses in meeting the licensing requirements, WDA has worked with our training partners to provide flexible and accessible training through initiatives such as on-site and bite-sized training. We strongly urge all cleaning businesses to start scheduling their staff for training now, ahead of the licensing deadline.”Penalties for non-compliant cleaning businesses and service buyers
  9. From 1 September 2014, general cleaning businesses found operating without a valid licence will be liable to a maximum fine of $10,000 and / or up to 12 months’ imprisonment, and $1,000 every day for continuing offences. Licensed cleaning businesses found to be in breach of licensing conditions may also face a maximum financial penalty of $5,000. They also risk having their licences suspended or revoked. Service buyers must also ensure that their cleaning service providers are licensed or they risk being fined up to $10,000 and $1,000 every day for engaging unlicensed cleaning businesses [Refer to Annex D for details on penalty regime and Annex E for conditions of licence].
  10. Cleaning businesses can contact NEA at 1800-CALL NEA (2255-632) or visit our NEA website for more details on licensing.

About National Environment Agency:

Formed on 1 July 2002, the National Environment Agency (NEA) is the leading public organisation responsible for improving and sustaining a clean and green environment in Singapore. The NEA develops and spearheads environmental initiatives and programmes through its partnership with the People, Public and Private sectors. It is committed to motivating every individual to take up environmental ownership and to care for the environment as a way of life.

By protecting Singapore’s resources from pollution, maintaining a high level of public health and providing timely meteorological information, the NEA endeavours to ensure sustainable development and a quality living environment for present and future generations.

Please visit NEA for more information.

About Ministry of Manpower

Guided by our Vision of “A Great Workforce A Great Workplace”, the Ministry of Manpower works to achieve a globally competitive workforce and great workplace for a cohesive society and a secure economic future for all Singaporeans.

The Ministry seeks to enable Singaporeans to meet the challenges of the global economy in the 21st century, to have the skills and the opportunity to realise their potential, have rewarding careers in quality work environments, and to enjoy economic security. A great workplace goes beyond a safe, healthy and harmonious organisational work environment, to include a strong tripartite framework and relationship between the government, employer organizations and worker organisations.

Please visit MOM for more information.

About Singapore Workforce Development Agency:

The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) is the nation’s lead agency for championing workforce development. WDA collaborates with employers, industry associations, the Union and training organisations to develop the skills-based Continuing Education and Training (CET) infrastructure, under which training opportunities are offered under the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) framework. Through the CET and WSQ initiatives, WDA spearheads national efforts to develop a pipeline of skilled workers to meet the evolving industry needs. In addition, through WDA’s programmes, all workers – rank-and-file employees, executives and professionals of all ages – are given opportunities to constantly upgrade their skills that boost their marketability amid an ever-changing employment landscape.

Please visit WDA for more information.

1 Source: MOM Comprehensive Labour Force Survey, 2012. Figures for 2013 are not yet available.

Annex A – Licensing Requirements
Annex B – Progressive Wage Model and Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners
Annex C – EC WSQ framework
Annex D – Details on Penalty Regime
Annex E – Conditions of Licence

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