How Much Employers Have To Pay Employees For Working On A Public Holiday?

Pay Employees For Working On Public Holidays

With Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) in place from 22 July to 18 August 2021, this year’s National Day Parade has been postponed to 21 August 2021. One question on many netizens’ minds: is 21 August a Public Holiday then?

Unfortunately, we think the answer is an underwhelming “no”. According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), all employees covered under Singapore’s Employment Act are entitled to 11 paid public holidays a year. So, if there was going to be any deviation from this, we would have seen an announcement already. 

But, of course, there’s nothing to restrict businesses from giving their employees a “Public Holiday” perk even if they aren’t officially entitled to it.

Read Also: 17 Types of Leaves Offered By Singapore Companies (Statutory And Non-Statutory)

What Are Employees Entitled To On Paid Public Holidays In Singapore?

Employees are entitled to their gross rate of pay on Public Holidays. 

However, if an employee was absent immediately before or after a Public Holiday without consent or a reasonable excuse, there is no obligation on the employer to provide the paid Public Holiday. If you are on unpaid leave, you will not be eligible for the paid public holiday on the day.

What Happens If A Public Holiday Falls On A Weekend?

According to the Employment Act, 

  • if a Public Holiday falls on a rest day, the following working day will be a paid Public Holiday for employees. Typically, Sundays are considered rest days.
  • if a Public Holiday falls on a non-working day, employees will be entitled to another day off or one extra day’s salary in lieu of the public holiday. Typically, Saturdays are considered non-working days.

If you are not covered by the Employment Act, Public Holidays will be based on your employment contract.

Read Also: Contract of Service VS Contract for Service: What’s The Difference Between These Two “Employment” Relationships?

How Do You Calculate Pay For Working On A Public Holiday In Singapore?

Employees covered under Part IV of the Employment Act, should be paid one extra day of pay (on top of the paid Public Holiday) for working on a Public Holiday. This includes both part-time and full-time employees.

For employees not covered under Part IV of the Employment Act (workmen who earn more than $4,500 and non-workmen who earn more than $2,600), employers retain the option of paying them an extra day’s salary or providing them time off in lieu. However, If no agreement to the time-off in lieu can be reached, employers can

#1 pay an extra day’s salary at the basic rate of pay;

#2 provide 4 hours time-off for employees who work 4 hours or less; or

#3 provide a full day off for employees who work more than 4 hours

If employees are entitled to overtime pay for working beyond normal working hours, or for work done on a rest day, they should also be remunerated accordingly.

For example, an employee on a 5-day work week: 

If they work on a Public Holiday that falls on:They are entitled to the following payment:
A working day (i.e. a weekday)one extra day of pay
A non-working day (i.e. Saturday)one extra day of pay or another day off for the public holiday
A rest dayPayment for work done on a rest day(the next working day will be a paid Public Holiday)

If the employee (who works 5-day week) earns $2,500 is required to work on a Public Holiday (either working day or non-working day), employers need to pay him/her an additional $115.38 during the month. You can use the formula:

(12 x Monthly gross rate of pay x Public Holidays worked on) / (52 x Average number of work days in a week)

For greater convenience, employers and employees can use this MOM Calculator for Public Holiday Pay to find out how much they need to pay/are entitled to for working on a Public Holiday.

If a Public Holiday falls on a rest day, the compensation structure for work done on the day is different.

If work is done:For up to half normal working hoursFor more than half normal working hoursBeyond normal working hours
At employer’s request1 day’s salary2 days’ salary2 days’ salary + Overtime Pay
At employee’s request1/2 day’s salary1 day’s salary1 day’s salary + Overtime Pay
Source: MOM

Alternatively, you can mutually agree with employees (even if they are protected by Part IV of the Employment Act) to take a public holiday in lieu or time off in lieu.

Read Also: How To Calculate Overtime Pay For Your Employees During The Month

Public Holiday Pay For Part-Time Employees

For part-timers, the calculation will be pro-rated based on the number of hours they work. Part-timers will also be entitled to a travelling allowance for one day. Here’s the formula to calculate they pro-rated pay:

(No. of working hours per year of part-timer/ No. of working hours per year of full-timer) X (No. of working hours in a day of a similar full-timer)

Employers can also choose to encash a part-time employee’s Public Holidays, and add this amount to their gross hourly rate of pay. Note that this should be explicitly stated in Contract of Service. For example:

(Annual entitlement to Public Holidays of part-timer (in hours) / (weekly working hours of part-timer x 52 weeks)) x Hourly gross rate of pay

For example, if the part-timer hourly gross rate of pay is $10, the hourly amount encash is (44 hours / 22 x 52 weeks) x $10 = $0.38. This means employers will pay their part-time employees $10.38 per hour instead of $10 per hour.

Read Also: Part-Time Employment Regulations: 10 Things To Know When Hiring A Part-Timer

What Is The Difference Between A Non-Working Day And A Rest Day?

In general, Part IV of Singapore’s Employment Act protects employees from working more than 8 hours a day or 44 hours a week. Maximising these two figures means that the employee will have a 5.5 days week. Hence, for employees on 5-day work weeks, Saturday is typically considered a Non-Working Day and Sunday is considered a Rest Day.

Read Also: Singapore Employment Act: 10 Statutory Requirements To Pay Employees

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