Public holidays: entitlement and pay
You are entitled to 11 paid public holidays a year in accordance with the Employment Act. If you are required to work on a public holiday, your employer should pay you an extra day’s salary or grant you off in lieu.
The 11 public holidays
If you are covered by the Employment Act, you are entitled to 11 paid public holidays in a year.
The 11 gazetted public holidays are:
- New Year’s Day
- Chinese New Year – first day
- Chinese New Year – second day
- Hari Raya Puasa
- Hari Raya Haji
- Good Friday
- Labour Day
- Vesak Day
- National Day
- Christmas Day
You are entitled to your gross rate of pay on a public holiday, if:
- You were not absent on the working day immediately before or after a holiday without consent or a reasonable excuse.
- You are on authorised leave (e.g. sick leave, annual leave, unpaid leave) on the day immediately before or after a holiday.
You are not entitled to holiday pay if the holiday falls on your approved unpaid leave.
- If you are on approved unpaid leave on 8 August, you will still be entitled to a paid public holiday on 9 August.
- If you are on approved unpaid leave from 8 to 10 August, you will not be eligible for a paid public holiday on 9 August.
Public holidays falling on a rest day or non-working day
In accordance with the Employment Act, if a public holiday falls on a non-working day, you are entitled to another day off or one extra day's salary in lieu of the public holiday at the gross rate of pay.
If a public holiday falls on your rest day, the following working day will be a paid public holiday.
If you are not covered by the Employment Act, it will be according to the terms of your employment contract.
If you work on a public holiday
If you work on a public holiday, by default, your employer should pay you an additional day's pay.
Alternatively, by mutual agreement, you can get one of the following:
- A public holiday in lieu.
- Time off in lieu (only for employees not covered under Part IV of Employment Act).
Pay for working on a holiday
If you are required to work on a public holiday, you should be paid an extra day’s salary at the basic rate of pay.
- Your monthly gross salary already includes payment for the holiday, so your employer need only pay you an additional day’s pay.
- If you are absent without reason on the working day before or after the holiday, you are not entitled to the holiday pay. Your employer can therefore deduct one day’s pay at the gross rate from your monthly gross salary.
Under different scenarios, your pay for working on a public holiday is as follows:
|If you work on a public holiday that falls on||You are entitled to the following|
|A working day|
A non-working day (e.g. Saturday for employees on a 5-day work week)
|A rest day||
The next working day will be a paid holiday instead.
Public holiday in lieu
If you work on a public holiday, you and your employer can mutually agree to substitute a public holiday for another working day.
Time off in lieu for employees not covered under Part IV of Employment Act
If you are not covered under Part IV of the Employment Act, your employer can grant you time off in lieu for working on a public holiday. The time off should consist of a mutually agreed number of hours.
If there is no mutual agreement on the duration of time off in lieu, your employer can decide on one of the following:
- Pay an extra day’s salary at the basic rate of pay for one day’s work.
- For working 4 hours or less on a holiday, grant time off in lieu of 4 hours on a working day.
- For working more than 4 hours on a holiday, grant a full day off on a working day.