30 Mar 2020

New Initiatives to Streamline the Regulatory Obligations of the Massage Establishments Industry

  1. The revised Massage Establishments Act (MEA) and the related changes to the regulatory requirements for massage establishments (MEs) came into force in 2018. These revisions sought to strengthen deterrence against unlicensed MEs and errant ME operators, through higher penalties, and to address concerns raised by the community on social dis-amenities arising from MEs operating late into the night, by restricting the operating hours of MEs. The restricted hours have proven to be effective, as the number of complaints and negative feedback has dropped in the past year.

     

  2. The Singapore Police Force (“Police”) has since further reviewed the regulatory regime, and will be introducing new initiatives for responsible ME operators to streamline their regulatory obligations.

     

    Multi-Year ME Licences

     

  3. Under the MEA, an ME licence is required before massage services can be provided in an ME. The current validity of such licenses is one year. To provide more administrative convenience to responsible operators, the Police will lengthen the validity of their licences so that there is no need for annual renewals.

     

  4. The Police will grant two-year or three-year licences to ME operators who remain infringement-free. The length of the licence will be subject to the Police’s assessment of the compliance levels of the operator, and other factors. This is intended to incentivise ME operators to further improve and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and to manage their businesses in a responsible manner.

     

    Revision of ME Licence Fees

     

  5. The Police has also reviewed the fees payable for ME licences. The fee for the one-year ME licence will be reduced significantly from $525 to $290, a reduction of almost 45%. The fees for the multi-year licences will also be significantly lower than current comparable fees – for example, a three-year licence will cost $590, 63% lower than the $1,575 it would have cost to renew the licence annually for three years. The changes to the ME licence fees are reflected in the table below:

     

     

    Type of Application/Licence

    Current Fee

    Revised Fee

    1

    1-year Massage Establishment Licence

    $525 for 1 year

    $290 for 1 year

    2

    2-year Massage Establishment Licence

    N.A.

    $440 for 2 years

    3

    3-year Massage Establishment Licence

    N.A.

    $590 for 3 years

     

  6. With these changes, the ME industry will enjoy significant savings, especially for responsible operators who maintain a good track record and are eligible for multi-year licences.

     

    Implementation Timeline

     

  7. These new initiatives will be implemented from 1 April 2020. The Police will be notifying the ME licensees of these changes.
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