Annual Leave, Off-In-Lieu, and Overtime: What Employee Benefits Am I Entitled To?
When you encounter a “Terms and Conditions” page, do you read every word?
Or do you just scroll straight to the bottom and click on the “I Agree” button?
Guilty of the latter?
Yep, me too.
(And that’s how I lost my $50 Obike deposit *#^@&#**[email protected]%^!)
When it comes to a job, it’s even MORE important to take a good, detailed look at what’s in it for you before you sign the contract.
If you’re still looking for a job, you can use this guide to help you find out what’re the employee benefits and entitlements you’re supposed to get!
And if you’ve already signed a contract without looking at the terms and conditions…
Well, you might want to find out if you’ve been short-changed.
TL;DR: What Kind Of Employee Benefits Am I Entitled To?
Assuming you are a Singapore citizen and have worked for at least three months with your employer.
Here’s what you’ll get:
|Ministry of Manpower Guidelines||Market Rate|
(Set by Companies)
|Can Carry Forward to Next Year?|
|Annual Leave||7 days (minimum)||14 to 21 days||Yes|
|Public Holidays||11 days||11 days||No|
(for working on Public Holidays)
|1–1 day||1–1 day||No|
|Outpatient Sick Leave||14 days||14 days||No|
(includes Sick Leave)
|60 days||60 days||No|
|6 days||6 days||No|
|Maternity Leave||16 weeks||16 weeks||No|
|Paternity Leave||2 weeks||2 weeks||No|
|Shared Parental Leave (from Maternity Leave entitlement)||4 weeks (subject to wife's agreement)||4 weeks (subject to wife's agreement)||No|
|Adoption Leave||12 weeks||12 weeks||No|
|Compassionate Leave||-||≤5 days||No|
|Eldercare Leave||-||≤6 days||No|
|Marriage Leave||-||≤5 days||No|
|Sabbaticals||-||6 months to 1 year||No|
For more information, you can refer to the Ministry of Manpower’s Employment Act!
What Is The Employment Act?
The Employment Act is Singapore’s main labour law.
It covers the basic terms and working conditions for all types of employees — with some exceptions.
Note: exceptions include seafarers, domestic workers, and public officers who are covered by other Acts and regulations due to the nature of their work
It’s an everchanging and evolving legal document that is often amended to protect the interests of both the employers as well as the employed.
What Are The Latest Amendments to The Employment Act?
From 1 April 2019, the changes which took effect include:
Covering All Employees Under The Employment Act
Managers and executives with a monthly basic salary or more than $4,500 will be covered by the Employment Act.
This amendment effectively covers all employees in Singapore with regard to:
- Minimum days of annual leave
- Paid public holidays and sick leave
- Timely payment of salary
- Statutory protection against wrongful dismissal
Note: exceptions include those mentioned earlier who are covered by other Acts and regulations.
Covering More Non-Workmen Under Part IV of The Employment Act
This amendment includes non-workmen who earn up to $2,600, under Part IV of the Employment Act.
Part IV of the Employment Act provides additional protection such as:
- hours of work
- overtime pay
Wrongful Dismissal Claims to be Heard by Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT)
As the ECT already hears salary-related claims, the shift will provide a more convenient one-stop service for employees and employers.
This should hopefully improve the employment dispute resolution framework.
What Statutory Leaves Am I Entitled to as an Employee?
If you’re a
- temporary, or
employee, here are some of the more common benefits which you are entitled to by law.
FYI: “statutory” means relating to rules or laws, which have been formally written down. So legally, you’re entitled to these benefits.
Although the MOM stipulated requirement is a minimum of seven days of annual leave.
It’s a common practice in Singapore to grant employees a minimum of 14 days of annual leave.
In addition, an additional one day of annual leave will be given for every additional year that you are with the company.
Based on what my friends in other companies and industries have shared, the most generous of companies often grant up to 18 days of annual leave!
For special situations like:
- unconsumed annual leave
- unpaid or no-pay leave
- taking leave on a workday when half-day off is given
you’ll have to check with your employer or Human Resource (HR).
Side note: if you plan your leave to coincide with certain long weekends in 2020, did you know that you can disappear from work for 40 days?
You are entitled to 11 paid public holidays a year.
In case you aren’t aware (how can it be…), there are a total of 11 gazetted public holidays for 2020:
- 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
Note: If the holiday falls on a rest day (Saturday or Sunday), the next working day will be a paid holiday.
Public Holiday Bonus Benefit: Off-In-Lieu
If you’re required to work during a public holiday, your employer should pay you an extra day’s salary OR grant you a day off-in-lieu.
In case you’re wondering, “in lieu of” means to “replace or substitute for”.
Apart from earning an off-in-lieu when you work on a public holiday, there are also other situations where you might be given an off-in-lieu.
This really depends on your company.
Some practice a 1–1 compensation for the number of days you worked in excess.
This means that if you have to attend a work-related event on a Saturday (non-working day), you should get a one day off-in-lieu.
Outpatient Sick Leave
The MOM stipulated requirement is 14 days of paid sick leave in a year.
To be eligible for sick leave, you must first inform or tried to inform your employer within 48 hours of your absence.
On top of that, you must produce a medical certificate and be certified to be unfit for work by a registered doctor or dentist.
The MOM stipulated requirement is 60 days of paid hospitalisation leave in a year.
To qualify for paid hospitalisation leave, you must be:
- Warded in a hospital as an in-patient or for day surgery
- Quarantined under any written law
- Certified by a medical practitioner who can admit patients into an approved hospital, including medical practitioners from national specialty centres and ambulatory surgical centres
Each parent is entitled to six days of childcare leave per year until the year your child turns 7 years old.
Childcare leave is capped at 42 days for each parent.
And your yearly childcare leave entitlement must be consumed by the end of that year.
As a working mother, you are entitled to 16 weeks of Government-Paid Maternity Leave if:
- your child is a Singapore citizen
- you have served your employer for at least three months before the birth of your child
- you have been engaged in your work for at least three months and have lost income during the maternity leave period (self-employed)
- you have given your employer at least 1 week’s notice before going on maternity
However, you are only entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave if your child is not a Singapore citizen.
On top of that, your employer will pay your usual monthly salary for the first eight weeks of leave.
And the last four weeks of maternity leave will be unpaid (subjected to the terms you agreed with your company).
As a working father, you are entitled to two weeks of paid maternity leave if:
- you child is a Singapore citizen
- you have been lawfully married to the child’s mother between conception and birth
- you have served your employer for at least three months before the birth of your child
- you have been engaged in your work for at least three months and have lost income during the paternity leave period (self-employed)
Eligible adoptive mothers (including those who are self-employed) are entitled to 12 weeks of paid adoption leave.
You’ll have to take the leave in one stretch or as agreed with your employer.
You are eligible for adoption leave if:
- your adopted child is below the age of 12 months at the point of your formal intent to adopt. “Formal intent to adopt” is defined as:
- For a local child: when you file the court application to adopt.
- For a foreign child: when in-principle approval is granted for a Dependant’s Pass.
- your adopted child is a Singapore citizen
- your child is a foreigner:
- One of the adoptive parents must be a Singapore citizen
- the child must become a Singapore citizen within six months of adoption
- you have served your employer or been self-employed for at least three months before your formal intent to adopt
- the adoption order must be passed within one year from your formal intent to adopt
For employees covered under the Employment Act, your contractual hours of work for common work arrangements are:
|If you work||Your contractual work hours are|
|5 days or less (a week)||Up to 9 hours/day
|> 5 days (a week)||Up to 8 hours/day
As an employee, you are not allowed to work more than 12 hours a day.
Your employee can ask you to work for more than 12 hours a day if there’s:
- An accident or threat of accident
- Work that is essential to the life of the community, national defence or security
- Urgent work to be done to machinery or plant
- Interruption of work that was impossible to foresee
What are the Maximum Hours of Overtime I Should Clock?
An employee can only work up to 72 overtime hours in a month.
However, employers can apply for an exemption if they require employees to work for more than 72 hours overtime in a month.
What Kind of Non-Statutory Leaves and Benefits Are There?
Most companies in Singapore provide certain non-statutory leaves and benefits to their employees.
These are dependent on your employment contract (that’s why you need to read it carefully!).
Or on mutual agreement between you and your employer.
Often, these are included for the welfare of a company’s employees.
As a potential employee of a company, some of these benefits are potential game-changers as they are a good indication of how much a company values and wants to retain talent.
Additionally, benefits like compassionate leave and marriage leave also indicate how progressive a company is.
It’s exactly what it means.
You’ll get one day of paid leave, which you can use to celebrate your birthday.
I mean, c’mon.
Who would want to work on their birthday?
Compassionate leave is paid leave that allows you to attend or prepare a funeral for deceased family members.
As a rule of thumb, companies usually offer at least two to three days of paid compassionate leave.
But I’ve heard of companies who give at least five days.
This is should be clearly stated in your employment contract.
If it isn’t, fret not.
Employers will usually grant compassionate leave when you inform them about a death in the family.
However, this is usually only granted for deaths within your immediate family and might not be applicable to more distant relatives.
This means that only the death of:
- children, and
are applicable for compassionate leave.
This is paid leave for you to take time off to take care of your elderly parents or family members when they are ill.
Unfortunately, the government is still studying the idea of eldercare leave in consultation with tripartite partners.
For companies with family-friendly policies, they’ll usually give between four to six days of eldercare leave.
As most couples have their weddings on a weekend, this is paid leave for you to plan or get ready for your big day!
Most companies will give two to three days of marriage leave.
This is probably the most subjective — and rarest — of all the non-statutory leaves which a company can grant an employee.
A sabbatical is a period away from work that is mutually agreed between you and your employer.
Think of it as a ‘gap year’ or an extended break from work, before you come back to the same job.
Note: considering that you’re paid and you’ll be taking an extended period of absence, sabbaticals are usually only granted (on a case-by-case basis) to senior employees who have worked and contributed to the company for a long period of time.
Depending on your company’s policies, some will pay your base salary for the entire period of the sabbatical.
While some will pay 40% of your pre-sabbatical base salary until you return to your job.
How long you can spend away will really depend on how critical your role is and how long your employer can afford to have you away for.
And this could be anything between six months to a year.
Other Non-Statutory Employee Benefits & Perks That You Might Be Able to Enjoy
Beyond off-days and leaves, some other common employee benefits include:
Healthcare, Well-Being and Personal Benefits
Many Singapore companies offer medical insurance plans that extend to your dependants and typically cover personal accident and hospitalisation.
Per Diem Allowance
For travel-related jobs, many companies provide a per-day:
- transportation allowance, or
- reimbursement of all expenses incurred while travelling on the job.
The per diem amount depends on the place you have to travel to for work.
Most companies provide a relocation allowance to employees who have to move to another country.
Often, these packages include benefits for the employer’s family if they need to uproot them as well.
Some companies give employers a chance to own a stake in the company.
This is usually offered through company stock options and is usually given to senior employees.
Other Common Perks
Other perks include:
- Organised sports and activities
- Paid corporate memberships
- Paid or subsidised mobile phone plans
- Paid or subsidised gym and club memberships
- Sponsored employee training, upgrade, or educational courses
- Staff referral schemes
- Monthly or annual team outings (fully paid) for team-bonding
and many more…
Know Your Rights as an Employee!
If you feel that you’re being shortchanged, talk to your employer or HR department to seek redress.
If your company or employer has violated your rights as dictated in the Employment Act…
You can report an Employment Act violation with regard to matters like:
- Annual Leave and Sick Leave
- Public holidays entitlement
- Hours of work, overtime, and rest days
- A valid SingPass
- Details of your employer, e.g. company name, Unique Entity Number (UEN)
- Your personal particulars, e.g. address, NRIC, contact number
- Your employment details, e.g. start and end date of employment, occupation, salary
You might also need to provide supporting documents like:
- Employment contract
- CPF statement or bank statement
- Resignation or termination letter
- Timesheets or punch card
- Medical certificate or medical bill
Alternatively, you can:
- Call MOM’s Workright hotline: 1800 221 9922
- Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 5.30pm
- Saturday: 8.30am to 1pm
- Closed on Sunday and public holidays
- Or email: [email protected]
Don’t worry, your identity will be kept strictly confidential!