Cleaning Industry

Cleaning Business Licence

licence-applicationenhanced-clean-marked-accreditation-schemesearch-for-licensed-cleaning-businesses

Background

The cleaning industry plays an important role in ensuring a clean and liveable environment. To do so, it needs to be supported by a skilled and productive workforce that will be able to provide for quality cleaning services for all service buyers. To enable this, NEA has been working with partner agencies and organisations since 2010, including the Ministry of Manpower (MOM),  then-Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and the National Trades Union Congress, to embark on a journey to raise productivity, wages, employment conditions and service standards of the sector over time. A number of initiatives have been implemented since, including the introduction of the voluntary accreditation scheme (VAS) in 2010, the enhanced clean mark accreditation scheme (EAS) in 2012, and the introduction of a mandatory licensing regime in 2014. Together, these initiatives enhance the overall standards and professionalism of the general cleaning industry through better employment practices and productivity initiatives. The mandatory licensing regime has helped to attract and retain local cleaners through key licensing requirements such as mandatory training for cleaners and adoption of the Progressive Wage Model (PWM), which maps out a clear career pathway for workers’ wages to progress with training and improvements in productivity and standards.

 

Scope of Licensing

Who needs to get a cleaning business licence

Businesses offering general cleaning services at premises or any public places, even if these services form only part of their overall business, are required to obtain a cleaning business licence before commencing any cleaning works. Cleaning works are mainly divided into 3 cleaning sub-sectors, namely (1) Office and Commercial, (2) Food and Beverage, and (3) Conservancy (including cleaning of public areas under Town Councils).

Under the Environmental Public Health Act, it is an offence to carry on a cleaning business without a valid licence.

Businesses which sub-contract their cleaning works to licensed cleaning businesses are also required to have a cleaning business licence of their own. In general, cleaning businesses are encouraged to employ their own cleaners to perform the cleaning work so as to ensure the delivery of quality services with trained cleaners.

When a licence is not needed

The Environmental Public Health (Excluded Cleaning Work) Notification 2014 specifies the types of services considered as “excluded cleaning work”. Businesses providing only these services are not required to obtain a cleaning business licence to carry out the services. 
Examples of “excluded cleaning work” are:

  • Cleaning of domestic premises
  • Façade cleaning
  • Cleaning of swimming pools

 

Service Buyers to Engage Only Licensed Cleaning Businesses

It is an offence under the Environmental Public Health Act for a service buyer to engage an unlicensed service provider to provide general cleaning services.  Service buyers found engaging unlicensed cleaning businesses are liable to a maximum fine of $10,000 and $1,000 every day for continuing offences.

  1. Service buyers are to ensure that their cleaning service providers have a valid cleaning business licence, when entering into a contract and throughout the contract period
  2. Service buyers should specify in their tender specifications that their cleaning service providers are required to have a valid cleaning business licence
    • If sub-contracting is allowed, cleaning sub-contractors are also required to have a valid cleaning business licence
Licence Dos and Don'ts_v1_May2021
  

How to Get a Licence

Key info about the Cleaning Business Licence

Licence durationThe licence is valid for 1 year and is renewable on a yearly basis
Licence fee$130, payable upon approval of application by NEA
Application processing timeIt will take approximately 30 working days to process and issue a licence, upon full compliance of licensing requirements.
Renewal of licenceYou may submit your licence renewal application up to 90 calendar days before your current licence expiry date.
How to apply
Please apply via the Cleaning Industry Management System (CIMS).

To enable applicants to have a better user experience of CIMS, you may refer to the Application Kit.

For application of licence with the Enhanced Clean Mark Accreditation Scheme (EAS) status, please click here instead.
Form of licence

The e-licence may be downloaded from CIMS via a valid CorpPass.

At the Dashboard, click on ‘Closed Applications’ tab and retrieve your e-licence from the most recent application.


Licensing Requirement

Registration with ACRA or ROS
  • Sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, companies registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) Singapore OR
  • Associations/Societies registered with the Registry of Societies (ROS)
Track Records

 For new applicants:

  • Have at least 1 employee who has fulfilled one of the following requirements (a, b, or c):

(a.) Has no less than 2 years of practical experience in supervising cleaning work OR
(b.) Has attended the requisite two training modules under the Environmental Cleaning (EC) Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) as prescribed:

  1. Supervise Service Operations, and
  2. Demonstrate and Apply Understanding of Cleaning Methods and Processes

OR
(c.) Has  attended the requisite two training modules under the Technical Skills and Competencies (TSC) within the Skills Framework for Environmental Services:

  1. Customer Management, and
  2. Effectiveness Management

For existing licensees:

  • Have at least 1 cleaning contract on-going OR completed in the 12 months preceding the licence application. If you do not fulfil this requirement, you may refer to the requirement for new applicants.
Training for Cleaning Workforce
  • All cleaners are to attend at least 1 module under the Environmental Cleaning WSQ Framework or other training course accepted by NEA.
  • This does not include cleaners who are employed for less than 3 months as at the date the application is submitted.
  • The training requirement applies to both resident and foreign cleaners, including full-time, part-time, and casual cleaners.
  • Training requirement:
 Application PeriodTraining Compliance
(%)
 For new entrants at the point of licence application 50
 At licence renewal 100
  • Training compliance must be maintained throughout the licence period.

Note: Applicants are required to declare all cleaners employed by their business at the point of licence application and update the list at each renewal.

Progressive Wage Plan
  • Cleaning businesses have to submit a progressive wage plan

(a.) For resident cleaners (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) employed
(b.) Specifying the basic wage for each class of cleaners
(c.) Conforming to the wage levels and bonuses specified by the Commissioner for Labour
(d.) Based on the recommendations of the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC)

  • Progressive wages will apply to resident cleaners whether they are full-time, part-time or temporary employees.
  • Progressive Wage Model Bonus will also apply to eligible resident cleaners.

Licence Conditions

Licensed cleaning businesses are required to adhere to the licence conditions, as specified in Section 80H(1) of the Environmental Public Health Act.

Licensees which fail to comply with any licence condition are liable to penalties (maximum of $5,000). Licensees may have their licence suspended or revoked for severe infringements.

References 

Penalties relating to the Cleaning Business Licence

  • Cleaning businesses found operating without a valid cleaning business licence
    • Maximum fine of $10,000 or up to 12 months' imprisonment or both and $1,000 every day for continuing offences
  • Service buyers found engaging unlicensed cleaning businesses
    • Maximum fine of $10,000 and $1,000 every day for continuing offences
  • False declaration
    • Maximum fine of $5,000. For subsequent convictions, maximum fine of $10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months, or both
  • Failure to comply with licensing conditions
    • Maximum financial penalty of $5,000. Cleaning business licence may be suspended or revoked

     

For Enquiries/Feedback

General Enquiries/ Feedback

Hotline: 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632)

NEA Online Feedback Form 
Enquiries on Training Requirement (SSG)

SSG Contact Centre:

Hotline: 6785 5785              Fax:6512 1111       

SSG Online Feedback Form 
Enquiries on Progressive Wage Model (MOM) 

MOM Contact Centre:

Hotline: 6438 5122              Fax:6534 4840

Online Feedback Service 

Useful Links

a)  Environmental Management Association of Singapore (EMAS)

Industry association representing cleaning businesses in Singapore

b)  Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC)

Comprises tripartite representatives from the government, unions, employers and industry stakeholders to recommend a progressive wage structure for the cleaning sector 

c)  SkillsFuture Singapore

Environmental Cleaning WSQ courses have been rolled out progressively since June 2010. Interested participants can check with SkillsConnect Portal for more information on course fees, schedule and funding support. 

d) Funding Support for Productivity Efforts

e)  U Care Centre

  • U Care Centre (UCC) is a one-stop centre set up by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to enhance the employability and welfare of low-wage, vulnerable workers in Singapore. UCC provides low-wage workers with guidance on work-related issues and opportunities to help them earn a better living.
Cleaners can visit the U Care Centre located at NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) Career Services Centre (Level 2) or call the U Care Centre hotline at 1800 255 2828 for advice and assistance. 
 

f)  Environmental Services Industry Transformation Map

  • Environmental Services (ES) Industry Transformation Map comprises 33 initiatives across 12 strategies to transform the ES industry to ensure a vibrant, sustainable and professional industry.