Leave Policy in Singapore

Leave Policy in Singapore
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As more of the world turns to remote working, employers have the opportunity to hire individuals living all over the globe. While this means access to the very best talent, it also requires employers to familiarize themselves with foreign countries' tax and labor laws.

Regardless of where your business is based, employers who hire workers living in Singapore will need to abide by the local leave laws in the country. Employers from all over the world can hire individuals based in Singapore using Skuad’s employer of record (EOR) services.

This article will provide an overview of the public holidays and types of leave policy in Singapore.

Holiday Leave in Singapore

Employees in Singapore are entitled to 11 paid public holidays each year. The rules regarding payment for public holidays are specified as follows under the Singapore Employment Act:

Employees are entitled to a full day's pay for public holiday leave. If an employee is required to work on a public holiday, the employer can select from one of the following methods of compensation:

  • If an employee must work on a public holiday, employers are required to provide employees with twice their typical salary (e.g., an employee who works an eight-hour shift on a public holiday receives compensation for their worked hours as well as the holiday leave pay, for a total of 16 hours of pay).
  • An employer can offer their employee a paid leave day to be used at a different time in exchange for working a paid holiday.

If an employee doesn't come to work on the day before or after a holiday without consent from their employer, employees are no longer entitled to holiday pay.

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Public holidays in Singapore

Below is the 2023 calendar for the 11 paid public holidays observed in Singapore:

Singapore 2023 Public Holiday Calendar

Holiday Date Day of the week
New Year’s Day 1/1/23 Sunday
Chinese New Year 1/22/23 Sunday
Good Friday 4/7/23 Friday
Hari Raya Puasa 4/22/23 Saturday
Labour Day 5/1/23 Monday
Vesak Day 6/3/23 Saturday
Hari Raya Haji 6/29/23 Thursday
National Day 8/9/23 Wednesday
Deepavali 11/12/23 Sunday
Christmas Day 12/25/23 Monday

When a holiday falls on a Sunday, the Singapore government requires employers to offer the following available business day to employees as a paid holiday. The following dates will be considered paid public holidays in 2023 to account for the fact that the actual holiday falls on a rest day:

  • Monday, January 1
  • Tuesday, January 24
  • Monday, November 13

Types of Leave in Singapore

Employers who typically hire individuals living in the United States may be accustomed to having control over what types of leave are offered. For example, employees in the United States are not entitled to paid parental or sick leave, but their employer can choose to offer these benefits.

In Singapore, however, employees are entitled to several types of leave in addition to the 11 public holidays each year. Below are the types of leave employees in Singapore are entitled to.

Sick leave

Sick leave in Singapore is a paid benefit that all Singapore citizens are entitled to. There are two types of paid sick leave in Singapore: outpatient sick leave and hospitalization leave.

With both forms of sick leave, your employees can collect benefits as long as they meet the following qualifications:

  • You have employed them for at least three continuous months.
  • They gave notice of needing to take sick leave within 48 hours of missing work.

Employees accrue more leave time with each year of service and are entitled to a maximum of 14 paid days off for outpatient sick days and 60 paid days off for hospitalization. However, you can offer employees more days off as an added benefit.

The minimum sick leave requirements employees are entitled to are listed in the table below.

Length of employment (in months) Paid days off per year (hospitalization) Paid days off per year (outpatient sick leave)
3 15 5
4 30 8
5 45 11
6+ 60 14

Annual leave

Annual leave in Singapore is a paid benefit that all Singapore citizens are entitled to. After three months of employment, employees are entitled to seven paid days off per year.

Employees accrue more leave time with each year of service and are entitled to a maximum of 14 paid days off, although you can offer employees additional days off as an added benefit.

The minimum annual leave requirements employees are entitled to are listed in the table below.  

Length of employment (in years) Days off per year
1 7
2 8
3 9
4 10
5 11
6 12
7 13
8+ 14

Maternity leave

Maternity leave in Singapore is a paid benefit to which all parents of Singapore citizens are entitled. With paid maternity leave, your employees can take up to 16 weeks of paid leave time as long as they meet the following qualifications:

  • Their child is a Singapore citizen.
  • You have employed them for at least three continuous months.
  • They gave notice of going on maternity leave at least one week before delivery.

Employers and the Singapore government share maternity leave benefits; the employer and government split the 16-week leave compensation for the first two births, and the government covers the full leave time for any subsequent births.

Paternity leave

Paternity leave in Singapore is a paid benefit to which all parents of Singapore citizens are entitled. With paid paternity leave, your employees can take up to two weeks of paid leave time as long as they meet the following qualifications:

  • Their child is a Singapore citizen.
  • The employee and the child's mother are legally married.
  • You have employed them for at least three continuous months.

The Singapore government covers the cost of paternity benefits.

Shared parental leave

Shared parental leave in Singapore is a paid benefit to which all fathers of Singapore citizens are entitled. With shared parental leave, your employees can take up to four weeks of their wife's paid maternity leave as long as they meet the following qualifications:

  • Their child is a Singapore citizen.
  • The employee and the child's mother are legally married.
  • Their wife qualifies for and agrees to share her maternity leave time.
  • You have employed them for at least three continuous months.

The Singapore government covers the cost of shared parental leave benefits.

Adoption leave

Adoption leave in Singapore is a paid benefit to which all mothers of adopted Singapore citizens are entitled. If the adopted child is not a citizen, employees are still eligible for leave benefits so long as at least one of the parents is a Singapore citizen and the child gains citizenship within six months.

With adoption leave, your employees can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave as long as they meet the following qualifications:

  • Their child is a Singapore citizen (or will become one within six months).
  • You have employed them for at least three continuous months.
  • The adoption process is within one year of filing a "formal intent to adopt."

Employers and the Singapore government share adoption leave benefits; employers cover only the first four weeks of the 12-week leave compensation for the first two adoptions, and the government covers the remaining leave time for the first two adoptions and the full leave time for any subsequent adoptions.

Childcare leave

Childcare leave in Singapore is a paid benefit that all parents of Singapore citizens are entitled to. With paid childcare leave, your employees can take up to six days per year of paid leave time as long as they meet the following qualifications:

  • Their child (including stepchildren and children who are legally adopted) is a Singapore citizen.
  • Their child is under the age of seven.
  • You have employed them for at least three continuous months.

Employers and the Singapore government share childcare leave benefits; the employer must pay the first three days of leave, while the government covers the last three days. Parents whose children are not citizens of Singapore are only entitled to two days of paid childcare leave each year.

Unpaid infant care leave

Unpaid infant care leave in Singapore is an unpaid benefit that all parents of Singapore citizens are entitled to. With unpaid infant care leave, your employees can take up to six days per year of unpaid leave time as long as they meet the following qualifications:

  • Their child (including stepchildren and children who are legally adopted) is a Singapore citizen.
  • Their child is under the age of two.
  • You have employed them for at least three continuous months.

Note that unpaid infant care leave is in addition to childcare leave, and the six annual days accounts for all children in the home and is not allotted per child.

National service leave

All male Singapore citizens must participate in the national service at some point in their lifetime. They will be enlisted at some point after they turn 18 and will be required to serve for two years, during which time they will spend 40 days each year actively serving.

National service leave in Singapore affects employers who will be required to submit make-up pay (MUP) for employees whose service affects their total income. Although employees are paid for the days they spend serving by the Singapore government, employers must make up for any difference in pay between the employee's typical salary and government compensation if service days fall on typical workdays.

Employers should be prepared to offer employees time off, regardless of how this affects business proceedings, and compensate employees as needed.

For more information on leave policies in Singapore and other information about remote employment in this country, schedule a demo with Skuad today.

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