Annual leave, also called vacation leave, is paid time off work given to employees as a benefit. It’s meant to help workers rest and recharge. In Singapore, annual leave laws are governed by the Employment Act. This guide covers the mandatory nature of annual leave in Singapore and the rights employees have regarding their days off.
What is Annual Leave?
Annual leave is paid leave that employees can take to rest and recharge from their job. It is usually provided yearly, with the exact number of days varying depending on the employer and the employee’s length of service.
In Singapore, if you are covered by the Employment Act and have worked for at least three months, you are entitled to annual leave. Your annual leave entitlement depends on how many years of service you have with your employer, with a minimum of seven days per year, and an additional one day for every year of service, up to 14 days.
Employees who have been with their employer for less than two years are entitled to seven days of annual leave. Meanwhile, those who have been with their employer for eight years or more are entitled to 14 days of annual leave.
|Year of Service
|Days of Leave
|8 and after that
8 Types of Leave Entitlements (Besides Annual Leave)
Besides annual leave, there are several types of leave entitlements in Singapore based on the Employment Act. Some of the main types of leave include
- Sick leave: Employees are entitled to 14 days of outpatient sick leave per year and can take additional leave up to 60 days (including the 14 days) or hospitalisation.
- Family leave: Employees can take up to 8 days of family leave per year to care for their family members in the event of a severe illness or injury.
- Maternity leave: Female employees can take up to 16 weeks of maternity leave for the birth of their child.
- Paternity leave: Male employees can take up to 2 weeks of paternity leave for the birth of their child.
- Child care leave: Female employees can take up to 6 days of child care leave per year to care for their children.
- Shared parental leave: Male employees can apply to share up to 4 weeks of their wife’s 16 weeks of maternity leave, subject to the wife’s agreement.
- Adoption leave: Employees who are eligible adoptive mothers, including those who are self-employed, are entitled to 12 weeks of paid adoption leave to bond with and care for their adopted infants.
- Unpaid infant care leave: Employees are entitled to 6 days of unpaid infant care leave a year if their child is a Singapore citizen.
Employers are legally required to provide these leave entitlements to their employees, per the Employment Act. It’s important to note that these are the minimum entitlements, and some employers may offer more generous leave packages to their employees.
Is Annual Leave Mandatory in Singapore?
Under the Employment Act, annual leave is mandatory for employees in Singapore. This means that employers are legally required to provide their employees with a certain number of annual leave days each year. The number of days varies depending on the employee’s length of service, as outlined above.
Employers are also required to keep records of the annual leave taken by their employees and may pay employees for any unused annual leave days when they leave the company. In some cases, employers may also allow for the remaining leave to be taken off-in-lieu to offset their remaining work days before their departure. This ensures that employees are not shortchanged on their annual leave entitlement.
Can Employers Refuse or Force Annual Leave Days?
According to the Employment Act, employers are not allowed to refuse an employee’s request for annual leave. However, if the employee’s request conflicts with the company’s needs, the employer may offer an alternative date for the employee to take their leave.
Similarly, employers are not allowed to force employees to take annual leave. Employees are entitled to use their annual leave days at a convenient time, and it is not up to the employer to decide when they should take their leave.
If you’re looking for a way to streamline your company’s leave management process and stay compliant with the Employment Act, consider using an HR leave management software like StaffAny. With flexibility and customisation to your team’s needs and reporting structure, StaffAny auto-adds to leave balances as employees gradually complete months with the company. Any entitlements and carry-forwards are also calculated upon yearly completion. From tracking, to submitting requests, and approvals on-the-go, we can help you keep track of employee attendance and other HR-related tasks.
Want to gain better transparency, clarity, and visibility on your staff’s leave information while reducing manual calculations of leaves? Contact us today to schedule a demonstration!