Cleaning Business Licence
BackgroundThe 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.
- 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
- 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
How to Get a Licence
Key info about the Cleaning Business Licence
|Licence duration||The 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 time||It will take approximately 30 working days to process and issue a licence, upon full compliance of licensing requirements.|
|Renewal of licence||You 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.
|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)
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:
- Supervise Service Operations, and
- Demonstrate and Apply Understanding of Cleaning Methods and Processes
(c.) Has attended the requisite two training modules under the Technical Skills and Competencies (TSC) within the Skills Framework for Environmental Services:
- Customer Management, and
- 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:
- 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.
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.