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“Where do you get your numbers?” – MOM report claiming Singapore residents work fewer hours since 2010 draws flak

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The Ministry of Manpower has drawn sharp criticism after it released a report yesterday that claimed that the number of hours Singapore resident works has been declining since a peak in 2010.

The report said that each employee worked an average of 44.9 hours (comprising of standard work hours and paid overtime) weekly, this September. This translates to an average of 8.98 hours a day for a five-day work week. In Sept 2010, each employee worked an average of 46.3 hours or 9.26 hours a day for a five-day work week.

MOM claimed that unpaid overtime, hours spent checking work emails or carrying out other regular tasks at home, and all other forms of overtime also show a steady decline over time.

Many have taken the MOM report to be a positive sign for the labour market. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wife and Singapore sovereign wealth fund chief executive Ho Ching even shared a news article covering the report on her Facebook wall:

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Many others, however, have opined that the trends captured in the MOM report may not accurately capture the realities on the ground.

Blasting the Ministry and asking where they got their statistics, several netizens have expressed that their relatives and coworkers work far longer than the average hours MOM says Singapore residents work:

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