1. Why did NEA introduce a licensing regime for the cleaning industry?
The cleaning business licensing regime was introduced to impose higher standards of employment across the cleaning industry and lead to more professional and reliable services.
2. When were cleaning businesses required to be licensed?
Since 1 September 2014, all general cleaning businesses in Singapore, even if these services form only part of their overall business, were required to be licensed before providing general cleaning services.
3. When were cleaning businesses required to pay progressive wages to their cleaners?
By 1 September 2015, all licensed cleaning businesses were required to pay progressive wages to all their resident cleaners (full-time, part-time, and casual inclusive). Licensees found not to be in compliance would be subjected to penalties, which may include suspension or revocation of the licence.
Please note that the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) schedules are revised periodically. The government accepted the recommendation of the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC) on the PWM wage points to be revised each year from 2017 to 2022. A PWM Bonus is also required to be paid to eligible resident cleaners from 2020. For more information on the PWM, please refer to MOM’s website or the Order by the Commissioner for Labour.
Scope of Licensing
4. If my company directly employs in-house cleaners to clean our premises, does my company need to be licensed? Does my company need to pay progressive wages to these in-sourced cleaners?
Companies employing in-house cleaners to clean their premises are not required to be licensed and hence, are not subjected to the wage requirement.
5. Do cleaning businesses providing housekeeping services need to be licensed?
Cleaning businesses providing housekeeping services to hotels, hostels, serviced apartments and other premises or public places are required to be licensed. Cleaning businesses providing domestic cleaning services at premises occupied as a private residence (but not including any common property of any condominium) do not need to be licensed.
6. If my business is providing cleaning services on an ad-hoc basis, does my business need to be licensed?
Any cleaning business offering non-domestic general cleaning services such as office cleaning, carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, on-site dishwashing, and cleaning of condominium common areas is required to be licensed. This is regardless of whether the services are provided on an ad-hoc basis or a term contract basis.
7. How is licensing different from Clean Mark accreditation?
Licensing sets the entry-level standards for cleaning businesses, while accreditation which has more stringent criteria aims to differentiate the quality of services provided by cleaning businesses.
8. My company is providing cleaning services for vehicles such as cars, taxis, and cruise ships. Does my company need to be licensed?
Companies providing vehicle (including watercraft) cleaning services are not required to be licensed.
9. My company provides grave cleaning services and landscaping services only. Does my company need to be licensed?
As the nature of “grave cleaning” work is mainly centred on landscaping and tombstone repair work, your company is not required to be licensed.
10. My company was set up to provide disinfection services only. Does my company need to be licensed?
If your company is providing only disinfection services, and is not offering any general cleaning services, your company is not required to be licensed under the general cleaning business regime.
11. Will the training requirement apply to foreign workers and part-time cleaners?
NEA considers the business’ cleaning workforce as a whole. Therefore the training requirement will apply to foreign workers as well as part-time cleaners.
12. When do I need to make payment for the licence fee?
Cleaning businesses only need to make payment of the licence fee after they have been notified of their successful application.
13. How do I make payment for the licence fee?
Successful applicants will be required to pay a non-refundable fee of S$130 for the cleaning business licence via:
14. How do I ensure that I will get my licence renewed on time?
Cleaning businesses are strongly encouraged to complete training for their cleaners, including foreign workers, before the licence expiry date. Cleaning businesses can submit their applications with the complete supporting information three (3) months before the expiry of the licence expiry date.
15. I already have my licence. How can I apply for the Clean Mark Award?
If you have a valid cleaning contract in-force for at least 3 months, you may download the EAS application form here and complete the following sections:
- Part 1 of Section A;
- Section B; and
- Authorisation of Applicant form.
Please email us the completed application form together with the relevant supporting documents required to NEA_Cleaninglicence@nea.gov.sg.
16. Do I need to have a cleaning contract in order to apply for a Cleaning Business Licence?
For new licence applicants, you are required to obtain a valid licence before entering into a contract. Please refer to the licensing requirements for new start-ups.
For existing licensees, you may renew your cleaning business licence with an ongoing cleaning contract or a contract that was completed within 12 months preceding your licence renewal application.
For former licensees that do not have a valid cleaning contract, please refer to the licensing requirements for new start-ups. Do note that it is in an offence to continue providing cleaning services if your cleaning business licence has expired.
17. I have already entered into a cleaning contract before getting a cleaning business licence. What should I do?
It is an offence to provide general cleaning services without a valid cleaning business licence, and enforcement action may be taken. Where possible, please cease all business operations until you have obtained a valid cleaning business licence.
18. As a service buyer, how do I ensure that my licensed service provider gets his licence renewed on time?
Licensed cleaning businesses are required to ensure that their cleaning business licence remains valid throughout the contract period. Service buyers can also help by reminding their service providers to renew their licence on time so that the service providers can continue to provide their cleaning service without any disruption.
19. How will I know if a cleaning business is licensed?
Please refer to the Public Search Page on the NEA website here for the list of licensed cleaning businesses.
20. What is the penalty for operating a cleaning business without a licence?
Cleaning businesses found operating without a valid licence will be liable to a maximum fine of $10,000 or up to 12 months imprisonment or both and $1,000 every day for continuing offences.
21. What is the penalty for licensed cleaning businesses that do not comply with licence conditions?
Licensed cleaning businesses found to be in breach of any licence condition may face a maximum financial penalty of $5,000 and may risk having their licence revoked or suspended.
22. What is the penalty for engaging an unlicensed cleaning business?
Service buyers who engage unlicensed cleaning businesses will be liable to a maximum fine of $10,000 and $1,000 every day for continuing offences.
23. Who can I contact if I wish to know more about the course fees/ duration and training subsidies under the Environmental Cleaning WSQ Framework?
Please contact SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) at the following:
Tel: 6785 5785 Fax: 6512 1111 Feedback portal: https://portal.ssg-wsg.gov.sg/feedback
24. Who can I contact if I want to get the Environmental Cleaning WSQ training records of my cleaning workforce?
Please contact SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) at the following:
Tel: 6785 5785 Fax: 6512 1334 Feedback portal: https://portal.ssg-wsg.gov.sg/feedback
25. Who can I contact if I wish to know more about the Progressive Wage Model?
Please contact Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s contact centre or visit MOM’s website here.
Tel: 6438 5122 Fax: 6534 4840
You may also contact the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC) Secretariat - NTUC U Care Centre at 1800 255 2828 or visit their website here to read the TCC reports in detail.