Cleaning Industry

Cleaning Business Licence

LA(GoBiz) enhanced-clean-marked-accreditation-scheme search-for-licensed-cleaning-businesses
Enhanced Training Requirement

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 1987, it is an offence to carry on a cleaning business without a valid licence. Businesses who operates without a licence is liable for a fine up to $10,000 or up to 12 months' imprisonment or both and additional $1,000 fine every day for continuing offence.

Businesses which sub-contract their cleaning works to licensed cleaning businesses are required to have a cleaning business licence of their own. From 1 January 2024 onwards, businesses that provides cleaning manpower to other cleaning businesses will also be required to be licensed.

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 1987 for a service buyer to engage an unlicensed service provider to provide general cleaning services.  This includes cleaning businesses that deploys cleaning manpower supplied by unlicensed businesses from 1 January 2024 onwards. 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 engaged providers of cleaning services or manpower 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 GoBusiness Licensing.

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 GoBusiness Licensing 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 [CLG-SS-301C-1], and
  2. Demonstrate and Apply Understanding of Cleaning Methods and Processes [CLG-SS-304C-1]

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

  1. Level 3 Customer Management [EVS-CFC-3005-1.1], and
  2. Level 3 Effectiveness Management [EVS-PDV-3002-1.1]

[Note: Applicants that have declared cleaners under the Track Records section must also ensure the cleaners meet the training requirement mentioned in the following row.]

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
  • From 31 December 2022 onwards, all cleaners employed for 3 months or more are to be trained in at least 2 modules at the point of licence application and throughout the licence period:
    • One (1) Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) module; and
    • One (1) Core module,
    Modules are selected from the list of modules endorsed by the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC) according to the PWM job title of the cleaner.
  • The training requirement applies to both resident and foreign cleaners, including full-time, part-time, and casual cleaners.
  • Applicants are required to declare all cleaners employed by their business at the point of licence application and update the list at each renewal.

Please click here for details of the Enhanced Training Requirement.

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.

Revisions to Cleaning Business Licensing with effect from 1 January 2024 onwards

With effect from 1 January 2024, the licensing scheme will be revised as part of overall efforts to drive capabilities and raise public health standards of cleaning businesses. The revisions to the cleaning business licensing framework will enable the cleaning sector to grow competencies and to develop a skilled and resilient workforce. Key elements of the Enhanced Clean Mark Accreditation Scheme (EAS) will be merged into the revised licensing framework with introduction of 3 classes of licence and new licence requirements.

Info on Classes of Cleaning Business Licence

  Class 3 LicenceClass 2 Licence Class 1 Licence
Licence duration2-years 2-years 2-years
Licence eligibilityEligible for cleaning businesses that:
a) Holds valid cleaning business licence as at 31 December 2023
b) New cleaning businesses

Cleaning businesses with Class 2 or 1 Licences will not be able to downgrade to Class 3 Licence
 Any cleaning businessAny cleaning business 
Renewable eligibilityLicence class is non-renewable.

Cleaning businesses with Class 3 Licence must renew licence into Class 2 or 1 Licence before or upon licence expiry.
 Renewable Renewable


Licensing requirements for licence applications submitted from 1 January 2024 onwards

  Class 3 LicenceClass 2 Licence Class 1 Licence
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 Class 1 Licence

  • Have at least 1 cleaning contract on-going OR completed in the 12 months preceding the licence application.

For Class 2 and 3 Licences

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 [CLG-SS-301C-1], and
  2. Demonstrate and Apply Understanding of Cleaning Methods and Processes [CLG-SS-304C-1]

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

  1. Level 3 Customer Management [EVS-CFC-3005-1.1], and
  2. Level 3 Effectiveness Management [EVS-PDV-3002-1.1]

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

For Class 2 and 3 Licences - At least 2 modules:

  • One (1) Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) module; and
  • One (1) Core module

For Class 1 Licence - At least 3 modules:
  • One (1) Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) module; and
  • Two (2) Core module
  • The training requirement applies to both resident and foreign cleaners, including full-time, part-time, and casual cleaners.
  • Applicants are required to declare all cleaners employed by their business at the point of licence application and update the list at each renewal.

Please click here for details of the Enhanced Training Requirement.

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.
Paid-up Capital[Not applicable for Class 3 Licence]For Class 1 Licence – At least $250,000

For Class 2 Licence – At least $25,000

  • Cleaning businesses applying for Class 1 or 2 licences are to show proof of financial bandwidth when applying for licence. Cleaning businesses need not maintain the capital throughout the licence period but will be expected to meet the required capital when renewing licence.

For incorporated companies

  • No documents required as NEA will check your company’s paid-up capital records.
  • NEA may request from applicant to submit documentary proof if the applicant’s paid-up capital data is not available or does not meet requirement. Qualifying documents, such as Business Profile from BizFile or bank statement of the corporate account dated within the last 3 months from the date of licence application would then be required to be submitted.

For business entities which are non-incorporated entities (e.g. sole-proprietorships, partners, societies, etc.) and do not have paid-up capital

  • Cleaning businesses will need to submit Statement of Accounts to show that the business’ net-worth is more than or equals to the required capital. Statement of Accounts will consist of both (i) Profit & Loss Statement, and (ii) Balance Sheet, and are required to meet the following:

o   Latest closed accounting year of 12-months; and
o   Certified by the business as true and correct

  • Net-worth will be evaluated based on the total assets minus total liabilities within the Statement of Accounts.
  • For more information on Statement of Accounts, please visit IRAS website here.
  • For more details on how to increase your cleaning businesses’ paid-up capital, please visit EMAS website here.
bizSAFE certification[Not applicable for Class 3 Licence]

For Class 1 and 2 Licences – Certified with at least a valid bizSAFE Level 3

  • Cleaning businesses are also required to maintain a valid bizSAFE Level 3 certification throughout the licence duration.
  • For more details on the bizSAFE Level 3 programme, please visit Workplace Safety and Health Council (WSHC) website here.
Compliance History[Not applicable for Class 3 Licence][Not applicable for Class 2 Licence]

Applicable to Class 1 Licence only

  • At the point of licence application, cleaning businesses do not have history in the last 2 years of the following:

a)   Court conviction under the following legislations:

o   Environmental Public Health Act 1987
o   Employment Act 1968
o   Employment of Foreign Manpower Act 1990
o   Workplace Safety and Health Act 2006
o   Central Provident Fund Act 1953

b) Default on or have outstanding Order(s) made by the Employment Claims Tribunal under Section 22 of the Employment Claims Act 2016.


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 1987.

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                     

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

MOM Contact Centre:

Hotline: 6438 5122             

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 MySkillsFuture Course Directory to search for courses and for more information on course fees, schedule and funding support. 

d) Funding Support for Productivity Efforts

  • Various types of funding support are available (as below) to assist cleaning businesses in improving productivity, providing better  jobs, and upgrading their workers’ skills

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.
 g) Progressive Wage Mark