ST Forum writer suggests making Friday a holiday-in-lieu if public holiday falls on a Saturday


Nigel Chua | April 30, 2021, 09:55 PM

Most people in Singapore would be familiar with the concept of a "public holiday in lieu" on a Monday, whenever the Sunday before it happens to be the date of a public holiday.

This will be the case for three public holidays in 2022, where workers Singapore will enjoy public holidays on Mondays.

The holidays are on May 2 (in lieu of Labour Day on Sunday, May 1), May 16 (in lieu of Vesak Day on Sunday, May 15) and on Dec. 26 (in lieu of Christmas Day on Sunday, Dec. 25) — provided that the Sundays are their rest days.

What happens when public holidays fall on Saturday?

However, when public holidays fall on Saturday, it's less clear what happens, as there are two main scenarios, according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)'s website:

If you are covered by the Employment Act, you are entitled to another day off or one extra day's salary in lieu of the public holiday. However, MOM does not stipulate when the additional day off must be taken, and it is presumably left to employers' discretion.

However, if you are not covered by the Employment Act, your employment contract determines what will happen, meaning that some workers in Singapore may well end up with no compensation and no extra day off.

Two of this year's public holidays fall on Saturdays, including Labour Day tomorrow (May 1, 2021).

ST forum writer: Friday should be declared holiday instead

Seeing room for improvement to the current situation, one Ng Chee Kheon wrote a forum letter to The Straits Times (ST) suggesting that when public holidays fall on Saturday, the preceding Friday should be declared a public holiday.

"This may result in more long weekends in a year for the public to have more time for leisure," Ng wrote.

As additional support for his idea, Ng pointed out that more leisure time could have positive knock-on effects on business for retailers, F&B outlets, and hotels for staycations.

Ng did not stop there, but went further to point out that "work-life harmony" and Singapore's fertility rate could potentially increase too.

Many expressed agreement with Ng's proposal in their comments on the forum letter on ST's Facebook page, while others expressed a preference for being able to accumulate an off-in-lieu day instead, as this gives workers more flexibility.

Some commenters also said that their companies' policies did not provide any compensation or off-in-lieu, in the event of a public holiday falling on Saturday.

There were also some alternative proposals surfaced for consideration:

Public holidays for 2021:

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="876"] Screenshot via MOM website.[/caption]

Public holidays for 2022:

Screenshot via MOM website.

Top image by Nigel Chua