Doing Business

Public Holidays in ASEAN countries (Part 3 – Singapore)

Trường Lăng

January 2, 2024

Doing Business

Public Holidays in ASEAN countries (Part 3 – Singapore)

Trường Lăng

January 2, 2024

Singapore is a melting pot of diverse cultures with a socio-cultural fabric of Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, among others. This distinct yet harmonious blend of various traditional customs has brought about colorful public holidays and celebrations all year round. Thus, when venturing into Singapore, the cultural environment does affect how investors do business. This article provides you with insightful information about Singapore’s public holidays, and tips to legal compliances.

Major public holidays in Singapore

Chinese New Year is the most anticipated public holiday in Singapore. Similar to Tet Holiday of Vietnam, on this occasion, people return home to celebrate the new year with family and friends. In Chinatown, Chinese New Year activities are often held, namely lion and dragon dance, visiting temples, among others. 

Chinese New Year in Singapore (Source: Venuerific)

In addition, both Thailand and Singapore have a public holiday for the birth, the enlightenment,  and the death of the Buddha. Yet, in Singapore, it is called “Vesak Day” when people of the Buddhist community practice public talks, vegetarian food fairs and hymn singing. 

Vesak Day in Singapore (Source: Gift Giving Ideas)

Hari Raya Puasa – one of the most important events for the Malay community in Singapore – is commonly known as Eid Ul Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan. Meanwhile, known as the Feast of Sacrifice, Hari Raya Haji marks the end of the Haj pilgrimage to one of the holiest cities – Mecca. People spend these holidays by wearing their finest clothes, visiting families and friends and joining the thanksgiving feast. 

Hari Raya Puasa in SIngapore (Source: Internet)
Singapore Public Holidays 2024
DateDayHoliday
January 1, 2024MonNew Year’s Day
February 10, 2024SatChinese New Year
February 11, 2024SunChinese New Year Holiday
February 12, 2024MonChinese New Year Holiday
March 29, 2024FriGood Friday
April 10, 2024WedHari Raya Puasa
May 1, 2024WedLabor Day
May 22, 2024WedVesak Day
June 17, 2024MonHari Raya Haji
August 9, 2024FriNational Day
October 31, 2024ThuDeepavali
December 25, 2024WedChristmas Day
Calendar of Singapore’s Public Holidays (Source: Viettonkin Consulting)

Implications of public holidays for enterprises and companies  in respect of the Calculation of Employee Salary and Holidays

Under the Employment Act 1968, employees are entitled to 11 paid public holidays annually. Therefore, if employers require their employees to work on one of those holidays, they are to pay an extra day’s salary or be granted a day off in lieu.  

Additionally, in case a public holiday coincides with a non-working day, employees have another day off or one extra day’s salary instead of the paid public holiday at the gross rate. At the same time, if a public holiday falls on the rest day, the following working day will be regarded as a paid public holiday. 

However, in case the employees are not covered by the Employment Act, the Employee salary on public holidays will be decided based on the terms of the labor contract. 

How are employees qualified for a paid public holiday?

In 2 scenarios as follow, employees are paid at their gross rate on a public holiday:

Not absent on the working day immediately before or after a holiday without any reasonable excuse and consent of the employers. 

Or on authorized leave due to reasonable excuse on the day right before or after a holiday. 

Otherwise, if the holiday falls into approved unpaid leave, employees are not qualified for a holiday pay. 

How employers pay for employees in case they work on holiday?

By default, when employees work on a public holiday, employers are to pay them an additional day’s pay. Yet, under mutual agreement, employees can have alternative options, which are a public holiday or a time off. For certain categories of employees, employers also have the option to offer time-off-in-lieu, with the number of hours to be mutually agreed upon. This applies to:

  • Workmen earning more than $4,500 a month.
  • Non-workmen earning more than $2,600 a month.
  • All managers and executives.

If any public holiday falls on a rest day, the working day next following that rest day is a paid holiday.

Meanwhile, when the employees are required to work on public holidays, they are to be paid the following: The gross rate of pay for that day; An extra day’s salary at the basic rate of pay; and Any traveling allowance, if payable under the terms of their employment contract. The extra day’s salary can be replaced by either another day off

One mindful note for investors in Singapore is that holidays will affect the tax planning of investors. If the legal and compliance due dates coincide with public holidays, they might be extended. Thus, paying attention to national holidays is essential. Being attentive to public holidays may help investors schedule their tax compliance ahead of the due date, hence fulfilling tax obligations on time. 

To avoid future legal violations, investors are  advised to consult leading experts in the field. In this way, investors can reduce the risk of non-compliance, and legal concerns, thus focusing more on core business activities. With decades  of experience in many Southeast Asia markets, along with a team of seasoned and professional experts insightful of the regional and domestic markets, Viettonkin is willing to accompany and support investors along Singapore’s legal procedures and compliance.

[Under the Employment Act 1968, employees are entitled to 11 paid public holidays annually. Therefore, if employers require their employees to work on one of those holidays, they are to pay an extra day’s salary or be granted a day off in lieu.  

Additionally, in case a public holiday coincides with a non-working day, employees have another day off or one extra day’s salary instead of the paid public holiday at the gross rate. At the same time, if a public holiday falls on the rest day, the following working day will be regarded as a paid public holiday. 

However, in case the employees are not covered by the Employment Act, the Employee salary on public holidays will be decided based on the terms of the labor contract. 

How are employees qualified for a paid public holiday?

In 2 scenarios as follows, employees are paid at their gross rate on a public holiday:

Not absent on the working day immediately before or after a holiday without any reasonable excuse and consent of the employers. 

Or on authorized leave due to reasonable excuse on the day right before or after a holiday. 

Otherwise, if the holiday falls into approved unpaid leave, employees are not qualified for holiday pay. 

How do employers pay for employees in case they work on holiday?

By default, when employees work on a public holiday, employers are to pay them an additional day’s pay. Yet, under mutual agreement, employees can have alternative options, which are a public holiday or a time off. For certain categories of employees, employers also have the option to offer time-off-in-lieu, with the number of hours to be mutually agreed upon. This applies to:

  • Workmen earn more than $4,500 a month.
  • Non-workmen earning more than $2,600 a month.
  • All managers and executives.

If any public holiday falls on a rest day, the working day next following that rest day is a paid holiday.

Meanwhile, when the employees are required to work on public holidays, they are to be paid the following: The gross rate of pay for that day; An extra day’s salary at the basic rate of pay; and Any traveling allowance, if payable under the terms of their employment contract. The extra day’s salary can be replaced by either another day off

One mindful note for investors in Singapore is that holidays will affect the tax planning of investors. If the legal and compliance due dates coincide with public holidays, they might be extended. Thus, paying attention to national holidays is essential. Being attentive to public holidays may help investors schedule their tax compliance ahead of the due date, hence fulfilling tax obligations on time. 

To avoid future legal violations, investors are advised to consult leading experts in the field. In this way, investors can reduce the risk of non-compliance, and legal concerns, thus focusing more on core business activities. With decades of experience in many Southeast Asia markets, along with a team of seasoned and professional experts insightful of the regional and domestic markets, Viettonkin is willing to accompany and support investors along with Singapore’s legal procedures and compliance.

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