GE2020 Polling Day: What Are Employers’ Legal Obligations To Support Voters Who Are Working

In case you don’t already know, Polling Day for the General Elections (GE2020) is on Friday, 10 July. It’s the first time Polling Day is being held on a weekday since the 1997 General Elections.

As Polling Day is also a public holiday, the Ministry of Manpower has reminded companies to treat it in the same manner as any other public holiday.

#1 Employees are entitled to a paid public holiday on Friday, 10 July. In other words, it’s a holiday and you are not expected to work. In case you are wondering, there is no school as well, so scrap any me-time plans that you may be hoping for.

#2 If employees are required to work on Friday, 10 July, they are entitled to another day off in lieu, or should be paid an additional day’s pay.

What Happens If Voters Have To Work On That Day?

While it’s a public holiday, some people who do shift work, or are in essential services, may still be required to work.

Unlike voting in some countries such as America which isn’t compulsory, voting in Singapore is mandatory, and having to go to work doesn’t exempt you from needing to vote. This means all Singapore citizens whose names are in the Registers of Electors have to cast their vote on Polling Day.

If you have employees who are not required to vote on Polling Day (e.g. Permanent Residents, Foreigners, Citizens below the age of 21, Singaporeans who are disqualified from voting), it might make sense for them to be working on that day, instead of having your employees who have to vote show up at work. Of course, this is assuming that your business still needs to operate on a public holiday.

Under the law, all employers must give employees, who are voters, a reasonable period of time for voting. Voters should inform their employer to request for time-off, so that appropriate work arrangement can be made to cover their duties when they are voting.

Read Also: GE2020: Here Are Key Economic And Financial Policy Proposals Contained In Political Parties’ Manifestos

Voting Time In GE2020

Because of COVID-19, voting during GE2020 is a little different.

Voting time is still between 8am to 8pm, similar to other General Elections. For a start, every voter will get a recommended time-band to cast their vote. You can check yours at the Election Department website. Voters are encouraged to stick to their time-band.

Morning time slots are reserved for older workers (65 and above). Voters are also encouraged to avoid 7pm to 8pm, as it’s designated as a special time for those who are on Stay Home Notice (SHN) and those on MC for Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) to vote, if they wish to.

Do note that while voters are encouraged to vote during their time-band, they can still cast their vote anytime while the polling stations are opened (8am to 8pm).

With this in mind, voters should make arrangements with their employers if they need to take time off or are unable to work on that day.

You can stay up to date on GE2020 related matters with DollarsAndSense as we continue to cover relevant topics in the next ten days.

Read Also: Business And Community Leaders Who Are Participating As PAP And Opposition Candidates In GE2020

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